Ferring martial arts gym and boat repair workshop refused permission

Plans for a martial arts gym, boat repair workshop and storage containers in Ferring have been emphatically refused.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 5:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 5:04 pm
Application site north of Littlehampton Road

Joanna Goodman and Salvatore Aragona applied for permission to redevelop a former nursery site north of Littlehampton Road near Highdown Hill.

They wanted to demolish the existing glasshouses and replace them with a single-storey building for the marine workshop and gym alongside a separate container storage facility.

The applicants, who live at the site, own both NS Marine and the Worthing Modern Martial Arts Academy – the businesses looking to relocate there.

However the redevelopment of the site was refused by Arun District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (November 24).

Agent for the scheme Huw James, from ECE Planning, suggested the existing glasshouses were ‘unsightly and redundant’ with the redevelopment plans representing a ‘significant enhancement’ to the site.

While the application received more letters of support than objection, the South Downs National Park Authority raised concerns and both Ferring Parish Council and the Ferring Conservation Group spoke against the application at Wednesday’s meeting.

The main thrust of arguments against the plans were around the site being in a settlement gap located in the countryside, the effect on neighbouring properties and the impact on the character of the surrounding area.

One objector labelled plans the latest example of ‘creeping commercial and industrial development in an area of countryside’.

Roger Elkins (Con, Ferring) felt it represented a ‘clear departure’ from the local plan, while Ricky Bower (Con, East Preston) added: “To vote this through would be another nail in the coffin of strategic gaps in this district.”

Mr Bower did not think the proposed uses were appropriate for this area and the buildings ‘do not belong’ in the strategic gap area.

But Steve Goodheart (Arun Ind, Hotham) argued the plans were an ‘opportunity to get something that is more acceptable and beneficial to people in the area’, adding: “I think it’s something which is very positive.”

However, the rest of the committee felt differently and voted to refuse the application.