THE National Trust has threatened legal action to stop a caravan site being built on farmland at Climping.
The country’s leading conservation body added its weight to opposition by more than 60 angry residents attending a Climping Parish Council planning committee meeting on Thursday (April 5), called to discuss the plans for the 134-pitch caravan site at Ryebank Farm, Grevatts Lane.
The 20-acre site lies within the Climping Strategic Gap, established to protect the open countryside, and safeguarded by a covenant held by the National Trust, which prohibits the siting of a caravan park on the land.
Mark Knight, a representative of the National Trust, attended the meeting and warned that the trust could take legal action, to prevent the development.
He said: “If any building takes place on the site, we can apply to the court for an injunction. A legal team is lined up to deal with this, in case this happens.”
More than 60 angry villagers packed into Climping Village Hall, with many forced to stand after seating space ran out. There was unanimous opposition to the plans among those speaking out, including Jude Sennitt, 52, who lives in Climping Street, near the planned site.
She feared the additional travel flow, from the site’s entrance, onto the A259, would cause “mayhem” during the summer months.
Mrs Sennitt said: “I have no doubt that these plans will lead to complete mayhem and pandemonium on the A259. The junction with Yapton Road and Climping Street is already a major issue, for many of the villagers.
“To have more cars, with large, touring caravans attached to the back of them, using this junction, will only exacerbate the problem.”
Mrs Sennitt, along with several other villagers, also highlighted the potential hazards faced by more pedestrians and cyclists, travelling along Climping Street, towards the beach.
Applicant James Baird, a farmer and major landowner in Climping, was unable to attend the meeting.
However, in a statement to the Gazette, he said: “I see no reason why this facility will not become a treasured asset in our community that will be virtually unnoticed by residents.”
The parish council voted unanimously to oppose the plans and has written to Arun District Council, which will rule on the planning application shortly, voicing the concerns raised by the residents at the meeting.