No to glasshouses

AN OPEN letter to Mr Zwinkels:

We write to you in response to your advertisement in the Observer (October 20).

The Almodington Association is not opposed to the expansion and continuing success of the horticultural industry. We are not opposed to the creation of new jobs or the importance of economic growth in the current national economic climate.

Furthermore, we do admire the achievements of you and your family in the building of your business at Vinnetrow Road over the past 29 years, and we respect the manner in which this glasshouse is run, and the way it fits in well with the local community and environment at Runcton.

It is, we believe, the right business in the right place, close to the A27 in an appropriate location.

However, your proposal to build 50 acres of glasshouses at Easton Farm – several times the size of your Runcton plant – may well offer the potential of a successful profit-generating business, especially since you have bought the land at agricultural rates which will increase in value tenfold if you get permission for horticultural use.

But it is glaringly obvious to the broader community, and to the people’s elected representatives at Chichester District Council, that these massive greenhouses and their negative impact on the local roads and environment, particularly the incompatibility with the adjacent country park that will be Medmerry, are most certainly in the wrong place.

This is why we will continue to lead our community in opposing your project at Easton Farm.

This project will give rise to further massive glasshouses on the additional land that you and your associates, such as Mr Vrijland, already own, together with the land that you are currently negotiating to purchase in this area, even if it is not Madestein who actually build more greenhouses on this site.

With this prospect in mind, and the subsequent traffic chaos on inadequate local roads, and the loss of beautiful and productive open farmland and countryside, why would we not all be very scared?

There is real widespread fear in our community caused by your proposal.

Perhaps much of this is due to the sheer physical scale of what you propose.

We have described it as being the equivalent of 45 international football pitches covered with seven-metre high glass, which is accurate.

Maybe we should also say that if it were built in the centre of Chichester, it would stretch from the western end of West Street all the way to the eastern end of East Street, or that the footprint of your glasshouse is three times larger than Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

Mr Zwinkels, it’s nothing personal, but we do not want your glasshouse project at Easton Farm and, on behalf of our community, we will fight it all the way.

The Almodington Association