Campaigners fighting multi-million pound plans to build 52 acres of glasshouses in Almodington have raised £50,000 to help their cause.
The Almodington Association wants to raise £100,000 to pay for legal help to put its case across, in time for a public inquiry showdown with Madestein UK next month.
Madestein’s £21.4m plans for the glasshouses, an office building and associated works at Easton Farm, were refused by Chichester District Council’s planning committee, but campaigners are hoping a planning inspector will dismiss the appeal and uphold the council’s decision.
Director of fundraising Graham Porrett said: “It is all going very well, we have our barristers and our legal experts in place.”
He added: “We feel deeply disappointed we are having to raise funds, seeking money out of the local community which could be spent on local businesses, to defend this planning application which has been unanimously rejected.
“We are meeting regularly and pushing things forward.”
Chairman of the Almodington Association Dries deVaal said: “We are hopeful, otherwise we wouldn’t be fighting this and spending this money.
“There are significant grounds on which we can fight this appeal. It is against planning policy, it will upset the visual attraction of the landscape and there would potentially massive increases of HGV movements.”
A date for the public inquiry has been set. This will take place from Monday, February 27 and is due to end on Thursday, March 8.
The likely venue is Chichester District Council’s offices in East Pallant. A public inquiry is like a court of law, in this case solely devoted to planning law.
The Almodington Association said it needed an experienced barrister who can present its case professionally, and help put their case forward.
In addition, it needs a planning consultant and expert witnesses in the fields of highways, planning policy, and the environment, and a specialist economic consultant who will set out to prove that the Manhood Peninsula covered in glasshouses will be bad for tourism – the principle income-generating business in our area.
The Almodington Association have been granted Rule 6 Status, which allows it full representation at the inquiry.
Two further parties, who are objecting to Madestein’s appeal, have also been granted Rule 6 Status: the Campaign Protection Rural England and the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group.
To view the plans and details regarding the planning appeal, search the reference number 10/04990/FUL on the planning section of Chichester District Council’s website.
For more information and to keep up to date with the Almodington Association, log on to its website http://www.almodington.org.uk
Madestein said it did not want to comment.