Major Thakeham homes scheme to go before committee

A 146-home development for Thakeham will be recommended for approval by Horsham District Council planners on Tuesday, April 19.

Proposals for the land, which has been a key part of British mushroom farming since the 1930s, include 51 homes for over-55s, 12 affordable dwellings, 20 key worker homes and 63 open-market dwellings.

Also planned are a village hall including shop and doctor’s surgery, a pre-school facility, community workshops/studio, sports pitches and changing rooms, a cricket pitch and pavilion, a children’s play area, open space and landscaped area, and allotments.

In addition, the development would involve the modernisation of the Chesswood mushroom farm site.

The total area of the mushroom farm and housing sites is 167 acres.

A key issue for councillors will be whether there are exceptional circumstances to justify allowing the new homes in a location where permission would normally be refused on planning policy grounds.

The applicant’s case, which is supported in the planning officer’s report, is that the development is required to help secure 480 jobs at the mushroom farm, and because of the environmental improvements the scheme would secure.

A large part of the housing land is covered in derelict mushroom-growing sheds, which would be removed, and much of the site would be restored to agriculture.