Controversial proposal to convert Lancing Manor shed is amended

Groundsman's shed at Lancing Manor. Google Image
Groundsman's shed at Lancing Manor. Google Image

An application to convert the groundsman’s shed at Lancing Manor has been amended after being met with opposition.

The original plan, submitted by applicant Steve Gardner, proposed to convert the larger building into a coffee shop and an area for selling fresh farm produce.

The smaller building would have been converted into toilets, one half for public use and the other for coffee shop customers, according to the original plan.

The proposal stressed that the single storey structures would remain ‘mostly as they are now’, with no changes to the layout, and that the conversion would be carried out ‘carefully and sympathetically’.

A neighbour consultation into the plans opened on Friday, May 5, and several residents took the opportunity to oppose the plans.

“I strongly believe this should not go ahead as it is totally unnecessary and will cause so much upset for the residents of the Moorings and The Street,” said Philip Hayes,a resident of The Moorings for 21 years.

The availability of parking spaces in the area had already become ‘more and more of an issue’, he said, and feared an increase in traffic due to deliveries and visitors to the coffee shop.

Robin Aspin, also of The Moorings, said there was ‘anger and resentment’ among residents at the plans and said: “We will fight tooth and nail to stop this from happening.

“It would detract from the character of the area.”

Beverley Kearney, also of The Moorings, said there had been issues with young people and drugs in the Manor ground and feared development would ‘encourage’ this.

However, some supported the scheme.

John Gravett, who said he and his granchildren regularly used the park, called it a ‘great idea’.

He said: “A place to get a nice coffee or snack is much needed and in keeping with other popular parks in the area.”

The application also received the support of Daniel Ross, parks and open spaces manager, who said it would enhance the ‘visual aesthetics’ of the area and would be ‘a welcome addition to park users’.

However in light of the criticisms put forward, the toilet block part of the proposal has been abandoned.

There will still be toilets for the coffee shop, but these will be housed in the same building.

The smaller stable block building will remain as it is.

Addressing residents’ concerns in a statement on Tuesday, May 16, Mr Gardner said extensive research into the venture, which is aimed at local residents and park users, had received ‘positive feedback’.

Mr Gardner said that, as a long-term resident of North Lancing and a regular user of Manor Park: “There is currently nowhere I can get a hot beverage or a light snack while enjoying the area.”

He said the small cafe facility at the Lancing Leisure Centre is aimed at users of the centre and is not dog walker friendly, or in sight of the playground, therefore not meeting the needs of many park users.

A strictly monitored CCTV system would be in place to deter anti-social behaviour, he added.

Residents can have their say on the scheme until Wednesday, May 31.

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