Arun District Council officers said the application failed to sufficiently survey for Great Crested Newts within the ponds adjacent to the site at Colworth Manor Farm, Colworth Lane. A planning, sustainable design, and access statement by Douglas Briggs Partnership for the new plans said the applicants are a tenant of the Church Commissioners for England, who own the land.
"Soft fruit farming at Colworth Manor Farm has proved very successful," the statement said. "Consumer demand for homegrown strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries has continued to increase as UK producers displace imported crops, reducing food miles and supporting the local economy.
Fruit grown on the Chichester plain is considered some of the best available in the UK, and the applicant's market share has increased as a result of the success of the polytunnels.
The proposed 10ha of polytunnels have been reduced in the area following consultation with local residents, and recover some of the 24.88ha of polytunnels lost through third-party strategic housing development approved by Arun District Council and will enable the applicants to react to market demands reinforcing the success of longer season crops to the farm and ensure the long term vitality and viability of the farm business.
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