A park authority has said the proposed IKEA at New Monks Farm, which it describes as ‘a very large industrial looking shed’, would cause ‘significant harm’ to the setting of the South Downs.
The South Downs National Park Authority, which has objected to the development, said its impact on the ‘sensitive location’ in the green gap between Shoreham and Lancing has been underestimated by developers.
While the authority does not object to the 600 homes included in the scheme, it claims the ‘large, block style’ of the store, which would be ‘clad fully using the IKEA brand colours’, would ‘exacerbate the incongruity within the setting’ of the area.
Tim Slaney, director of planning for the authority, said in a letter responding to the application: “This is a major development on the edge of the National Park and it is disappointing opportunities to provide a high-quality design have not been taken.”
He also raised concerns about the cumulative impact of the development and the industrial units proposed at Shoreham Airport on the setting of the park.
Both proposals ‘expand the site boundaries, reducing the openness of the flood plain’ he said, therefore this cumulative effect must be ‘fully understood and addressed’.
However a spokesman for the New Monks Farm Development said architects and landscape consultants had consulted with key stakeholders to ensure they minimised the visual impact of the development.
“We are pleased to note from the comments by the South Downs National Park that the issues are not insurmountable,” the spokesman said.
“We are considering the comments and looking at further ways in which we can mitigate the impacts.”
The spokesman added: ”Land at New Monks Farm is identified for housing and commercial development in the adopted Adur Local Plan and other sub-regional and regional economic development strategies, including the Adur Place Plan and the Greater Brighton Devolution Prospectus.
“It is one of very few local sites that provide the opportunity to deliver much-needed new homes, including affordable, and employment space in the local area.
“The proposed developments will provide 600 much needed new homes, 30 per cent of which will be affordable, create over 870 new jobs and add £11.5m annually to the local economy”.