VOTE: Was the district council right to reject plans for an extension to a Lavant industrial estate?

Expansion plans for a Lavant industrial estate were rejected by Chichester district councillors – amid concerns over flooding and drainage problems and following strong parish objections.

Permission was sought by Eastmead Industries Ltd for two-storey extensions to three units, to create six extra units for light industrial use, offices and storage.

The district’s northern area development control committee voted ten-0 to refuse consent, after planning officers warned the council had not received enough information and reassurance that the development would be suitably drained.

Lavant representative Cllr Andrew Smith told fellow members: “There is a severe flooding problem. Given the absence of any adequate measures to deal with it, I am happy with the officers’ recommendation to refuse this.”

Officers said in a report that the applicants had failed to demonstrate the proposals would not have an adverse effect on the local environment and local residents’ amenities.

Lavant Parish Council said that because the issue of flooding had not been adequately addressed, there was a ‘severe issue’ for local people.

The two storeys proposed were too high because of the terrain and because the back gardens of adjacent homes were 1.5 metres lower.

The new building would displace a larger volume of surface water to adjacent properties than was currently the case.

The Environment Agency said that without specified planning conditions relating to groundwater and land contamination, the proposed development posed an unacceptable risk to the environment, and it objected to the application.

Parish council representative Ian Hutton said it valued the industrial estate, and would encourage it to increase its capabilities.

“But this development is coming further towards residential properties, and is increasing in height,” he warned.

“It really is too high, and coming too close. Flood risks would be increased.”