RESIDENTS of prospective homes alongside the A27 would have had to keep windows permanently closed or walk to a nearby park to seek tranquillity, councillors heard.
Gardens of two of the six homes planned for the former Lancing Manor filling station would have exceeded recommended noise limits, despite measures to limit the impact of traffic.
A noise assessment presented to Adur District Council’s planning committee on Monday suggested residents could seek peace in Lancing Manor Park.
Councillor Geoff Patmore said: “The only way people who are potentially going to live there are to get any peace and quiet is to walk to a park five minutes away.
“That is not suitable. It’s absolutely ludicrous. I thought somebody was playing a joke and it was a trick or treat, quite frankly.”
Developer Kato Holdings Ltd hoped its outline application for the Old Shoreham Road site would be approved, as recommended by council officers.
The application sought permission for six homes, bringing the disused site – now reduced to concrete hardstanding and grass – back into use.
In order to minimise noise issues, acoustic fencing was suggested, with whole-house ventilation systems mitigating the requirement to close windows.
But many of the 23 letters of objection focused on the separate issue of flood risk.
Mash Barn councillor David Lambourne, who joined Adur Floodwatch chairman Bill Freeman in speaking against the application, told councillors the site was unsuitable.
He said: “No matter what you do, the area will always be vulnerable to flooding, particularly to groundwater, and there is nothing much you can do to manage that, other than restrict building developments such as this one.”
The applicant proposed drainage through and existing pipe under the A27, which is currently blocked and would require work to make it suitable.
Stringent planning conditions were put forward by officers barring the developer from starting work until issues with drainage were satisfactorily resolved.
But objectors did not believe the measures proposed would be fit for purpose.
No statutory consultee raised an objection, however.
“As a duty of care to the community, prospective owners even, we charge the committee to refuse this scheme,” urged Mr Freeman.
Concerns were also raised over access, with residents faced with emerging onto the A27 but the county council’s highways department also raised no objection.
Mr Patmore said: “The poor deafened people who are seeking to relax can’t even drive.
“They would have to drive out of there like Lewis Hamilton out of the pit lane at the grand prix. “
The applicant’s agent Dawn Appleton argued the proposals represented an ‘opportunity for redevelopment to provide much-needed homes’.
She pointed to strict conditions which she said dealt with issues such as drainage.
She added there should be a presumption in favour of sites in a ‘sustainable’ location and mentioned the likely development of land to the north of the site, as it was set to be included in the South Downs National Park Authority’s local plan.
But the committee were not convinced, voting to unanimously reject the application, going against the officer’s recommendations.
The committee appeared to struggle to formulate a planning reason for refusal, with noise issues and a ‘lack of living quality’ for prospective residents mooted as reasons.