Park coffee and farm shop vision rejected – but developer could appeal

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

A coffee and farm shop vision for Lancing Manor was roundly rejected by councillors last night – but the businessman behind the plans could appeal (Tuesday, June 27).

Steve Gardner’s proposal to convert a groundsman’s shed divided the community, with 113 letters of support balanced by 211 objections and a petition of 137 names.

Adur District Council’s planning committee unanimously rejected his application, arguing it would have an ‘unneighbourly impact’ on nearby residents.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Gardner, a Lancing resident of 15 years said: “I am going to take a few days to reflect and consider a course of action because obviously there was some objections but it was pretty localised to the people close to the facility.

“The support of the wider community is huge for it and I am being encouraged a lot to appeal it.”

Objectors had included East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton, who described the proposal as an ‘unwelcome development so close to a quiet and narrow residential street’.

Concerns over conversion of the shed, south of The Street and The Moorings, focused on traffic and parking, as well as the impact on neighbouring residents of a facility open 8am to 8pm in the summer.

West Sussex County Council’s highways department, raised no objection to the plans.

The committee heard there was no comparative business on its traffic modelling system, which measures whether applications would have a ‘severe’ impact.

It therefore used the ‘worst-case’ scenario, comparing the coffee shop to a pub and restaurant and the farm shop to a small convenience store.

But councillors raised issue with the narrow nature of The Street,

Councillor George Barton, also county councillor for Sompting and North Lancing, said: “When I heard about this plan I thought it was rather a good one. I have now had four visits there, including one with the traffic manager, and I have come to the conclusion now that I was wrong to start with.

“There is a definite threat to public safety for families wanting to get to that site.”

Manor ward councillor Carson Albury said the plans would affect a ‘very quiet residential area’. He welcomed the rejection and said the idea should have been subject to public consultation and a tender process.

Addressing councillors, he said: “No-one is against a small cafe in the park - but this is not a kiosk and it is definitely not small. This is a large business venture including a farm shop and cafe.”

Adrienne Stevenson, representing objecting residents, told the councillors: “This has been a very stressful time for us. We have had three plans to deal with, been pilloried on social media and weren’t consulted in the first place.

“We are not unreasonable. We would be happy to find a more efficient, low-key use that will not harm our quality of life.”