Public inquiry ends into glasshouses

PROTEST Andy Fitzgerald of the Almodington Association at the site
PROTEST Andy Fitzgerald of the Almodington Association at the site
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A PUBLIC inquiry into plans for 52 acres of glasshouses to grow lettuces has now concluded.

After 14 days of evidence, a planning inspector will now take several weeks to decide whether the development at Easton Farm, in Almodington, near Chichester, can go-ahead.

The final three days of the inquiry focused on a last-minute proposal for a road-widening scheme for HGVs before all parties involved summarised their cases.

Tom Cosgrove, representing the district council, said: ‘Can the proposals go elsewhere? The answer is yes.’

Summarising the case for applicants, Madestein, Christopher Katkowski QC, said: ‘The Manhood Peninsula has a number of rural lanes but here the lane would be improved so that it is safer for all users than it is today.’

He added: ‘It’s time to take a deep breath and do the right thing. In these times of economic crisis there is even greater good sense in helping, not hindering, a business such as this.

‘The appellant asks the inspector to grant permission so that this successful, long-established, local, family-run business can – in the words of the budget speech – earn its future.’

The inquiry was launched in February after Madestein appealed against Chichester District Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the glasshouses.