Homes to replace shuttered Earnley tourist attraction

Plans to build five houses on the site of a former butterfly centre have been approved by Chichester District Council against the advice of its officers.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 10:49 am

The application for the Earnley Butterflies, Birds & Beasts site, in Almodington Lane, was given the nod by the planning committee on Wednesday (October 6).

The committee was told that the tourist attraction closed in 2020 and, although the site had been marketed for other use, no interest had been received.

Officers recommended that the application be refused as they had concerns about the design and felt the principle of building homes there was unacceptable.

Earnley development application site

But the majority of the committee, as well as the parish council and a number of residents, gave it their support.

Parish councillor Robert Carey said: “This is a dilapidated brownfield site that urgently needs redevelopment.”

Mr Carey added that the parish council ‘strongly supported’ the plans, saying the homes were highly environmentally sustainable, ecologically friendly and would fit in well with the character of the area.

Their green credentials will include electric vehicle charging points, solar panels and solar thermal water heating.

The locked up site entrance

Other supporters said the place was ‘an eyesore’ and were pleased with the homes being proposed.

Graeme Barrett (Con, The Witterings) said: “I think it’s an ideal design and an ideal location for this type of development and I fully support it.”

Gordon McAra (Ind, Midhurst) praised the quality of the design and the high level of energy conservation and carbon reduction involved.

He added: “It’s using common sense – it’s using new and current technology and I think this is something that we should support.”

The application will see the current access closed and a new one built further along the road.

This prompted more concerns from officers that, while most of the site is in the low risk flood zone 1, the new access would be in a more high-risk area.

The committee, though, voted in favour of the plans by seven votes to four.

To view the application, log on to and search for 20/03289/FU