Go-ahead for 600 West Sussex homes and IKEA store, despite visual impact concern

Plans have been approved for 600 homes and an IKEA store in Lancing, West Sussex, despite a recognition from planners that the scheme would have negative visual impacts and the proposed level of commercial development is 'significantly above' that envisaged by the council's local plan.

A visualisation of the finished New Monks Farm development in Lancing
A visualisation of the finished New Monks Farm development in Lancing

In July last year, Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club and its partner, CALA Homes (South Home Counties), submitted a hybrid planning application for the homes, the store and a school at New Monks Farm, to the north of the club's training ground at Lancing, which is on the coast.

The site, which is owned by the football club, is allocated in Adur District Council’s emerging Adur Local Plan, which was adopted in December last year.

The application sought full planning permission for 249 homes, while an outline element sought consent for a further 351 homes, the IKEA store, a community hub, primary school, and landscaping.

Alongside this application, Adur Council’s planning committee also last week considered and approved a second application that sought to provide an additional 25,000 square metres of commercial space at neighbouring Shoreham Airport.

A planning report into the New Monks Farm application said that there had been "considerable discussion" with the applicants in connection with "necessary mitigation measures to reduce the visual impact of the large Ikea store" on "views from the [South Downs] National Park and across the local green gap from the River Adur".

It advised that members needed to "have regard" to the "difficult balancing act in this case judging whether the public benefits of the development outweigh the harm identified to the setting of the [national park and green gap], notwithstanding the mitigation measures negotiated after several months".

Planners also noted that the "level of commercial development is significantly above what was envisaged by the adopted local plan".

However, planners considered that there were material planning considerations "which could justify a departure to the adopted plan".

The report said that a viability assessment had "demonstrated that the proposed IKEA store is necessary to unlock both the housing land and [the development] at the airport in view of the significant infrastructure costs involved with a comprehensive drainage and transport strategy".

On balance, planners said, "it is considered the public benefits of the scheme would outweigh the harm caused, notably delivering a key strategic housing site (including 180 affordable dwellings), unlocking significant employment land at the airport and providing up to 430 jobs".

The application will be referred to the secretary of state.

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