Residents celebrate Fishbourne poly-tunnel U-turn

Ted Palmer, Jim Phillips and Maurice Penfold, all live on Main Road, Bosham and have been vocal against plans to build poly-tunnels on 24 hectares of field in front of their house.'Langmeads, who own Ham Farm, withdrew the planning application because of the objections SUS-150303-085403001
Ted Palmer, Jim Phillips and Maurice Penfold, all live on Main Road, Bosham and have been vocal against plans to build poly-tunnels on 24 hectares of field in front of their house.'Langmeads, who own Ham Farm, withdrew the planning application because of the objections SUS-150303-085403001

A GROUP of residents are celebrating after banding together to stop their view of the South Downs being ‘obliterated by plastic’.

A large farming group had proposed to fill two fields, 24 hectares in size, with poly-tunnels between Fishbourne and Bosham.

But on Monday, Langmeads pulled the planning application to build next to Ham Farm because of the sheer number of objections from residents, parish councils and other local authorities.

“It’s a real victory for people power,” said Maurice Penfold, one of the residents who lives on Main Road and was worried his views of the Downs were set to be replaced by white plastic.

“We’re absolutely over the moon that Langmeads has withdrawn the application, it’s a very welcome shock.”

Maurice, Ted Palmer and Jim Phillips all live on Main Road, immediately south of the fields.

Outraged that 14-ft poly-tunnels were due to stretch the equivalent of 33 football pitches right in front of their properties, they took action.

They lobbied local residents and contacted both Bosham and Fishbourne parish councils, who all joined the fight.

It led to a flood of objection letters from angry residents, who also argued it would exacerbate long-standing flooding problems.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard the news,” said a delighted Jim. “Credit to Langmeads for seeing sense.”

Among about 20 objections that were listed on Chichester District Council’s website were concerns from the Chichester Harbour Conservancy and the South Downs National Park.

It prompted Langmeads to scrap the plans and bosses have confirmed there are no other plans to build on the fields. Andrew Mason, project surveyor, said: “We were aware there was a lot of feeling locally against the application, including from South Downs National Park Authority, so we felt it was senseless taking it forward given it was causing so much upset.”

Geoff Hand, Fishbourne Parish Council chairman, added: “This is an excellent outcome. It shows what can happen when local residents raise an issue and this is followed up by parish councils – in this case, Fishbourne and Bosham.”