Council aims to transform disused tip

A PARISH council is looking to turn a disused waste site at the ‘gateway to the Downs’ into a community facility.

Sompting Parish Council is applying for money to fund a survey on the former council tip at Halewick Lane, with a view to turning it into something that will benefit the whole village under the Government’s Community Right to Build scheme.

The site has been closed for six years and a Neighbourhood Plan questionnaire has revealed that a number of residents want to see something done with the land which is owned by West Sussex County Council.

The parish council is applying for a grant of £49,000 to fund feasibility surveys and would have to contribute £5,000 from its reserves towards the total cost.

Parish clerk David Porter said: “The National Parks Authority is exceedingly pleased that we have taken steps to move this forward and are looking forward to working with us.”

Ideas for what could be included at the site are a disabled riding school, a café, and ‘national-park related employment’, which could include a book shop and workshops as well as a ‘flexible space for meetings, functions and education’.

West Sussex County Council has said it wants there to be a small number of business start-up units at the site.

Cllr Sharon Wood said: “We have sat around for a few years and waited for something to happen. Now we have decided to be pro-active.

“Nothing is set in stone, it’s very preliminary.”