Development on West Sussex Common

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We have objected to a planning application on Horsebridge Common, Ashurst, near Steyning in West Sussex.

The application is to convert garages into a cookery-school and tea-room, but the building is on registered common land, which means it is unlawful. Works on common land need the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006, as well as any planning consent.

The society objects to this abuse of common land, and to the traffic which will be generated on the driveway across the common, destroying people’s quiet enjoyment of the land. The public has a right to walk on all commons.

We are dismayed that Horsham District Council gave consent for a building on the common here more than ten years ago—a double garage and store room. The applicants must know that this building, which they now wish to develop, is on common land, but they have failed to mention this in their application. Yet this will lead to intensification of use and suburbanisation of the common. Part of the common will be used as a car-park.

The council is now well aware that this is common land, and has received objections from a grazier and an adjoining landowner. We trust it will reject this application.

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