Chichester taxpayers face big bill over glasshouse appeal

Portsmouth council agree to consult on Victoria Park revamp

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A PLANNING dispute over a new £21.4m glasshouse development proposed looks set to cost Chichester taxpayers tens of thousands of pounds.

An appeal has been lodged against the council’s refusal for 52 acres of glasshouses, offices, reservoirs and roads at Easton Farm, in Easton Lane, at Almodington.

Councillors were told that the full costs to the council as a result of the appeal were not yet known, but the current ‘best estimate’ was £121,000, excluding VAT and expenses, compared with an earlier estimate of up to £70,000.

The cabinet heard that additional work which pushed up the costs was necessary in order to properly present the council’s case at a public inquiry into the appeal, which has been held over 11 days, and will reconvene on June 20.

This, the council says, reflected the complexity of the planning issues, and the fact that developers Madestein UK had twice redesigned a proposed highway scheme after the appeal was lodged.

A report to councillors said it ‘hoped the inspector will dismiss the appeal’.

It was also hoped the council would be able to defend successfully against any claim for costs that might be made. The glasshouse has provoked strong opposition, with objections from the Almodington Association and Earnley, Birdham, Sidlesham and Donnington parish councils.