Agenda item

DC/18/1268 - Christs Hospital School, The Avenue, Christs Hospital

Ward: Southwater

Applicant: Mr Francis Pulvermacher, Christs Hospital School


The Head of Development reported that this application sought permission for a number of additional sports and recreation facilities, car parking and landscaping in the vicinity of the Bluecoats Sports Centre, in conjunction with Christ’s Hospital school.  The application included the following:


·      Two storey extension to the west of sports centre to provide a new swimming pool, spa facilities, two class studios, fitness suite and enlarged café; 

·      All-weather six-lane running track with ancillary athletic facilities;

·      Outdoor exercise area;

·      Downgrading of part of Infirmary Drive, including closure of its access onto Christs Hospital Road, to make a sprint track;

·      3G Artificial grass rugby/football pitch;

·      Unlit running trial in area east of Infirmary Drive where relocated spoil is deposited;

·      Parking for 272 cars;

·      New access road from Christs Hospital Road;

·      Landscaping, SuDS drainage system, fencing and lighting.


Members were advised that the height of the floodlighting columns was 18 metres, not 16 metres as stated in paragraph 1.4 of the report.  Consultation assessments had taken into consideration the correct height.  The proposed soft landscaping and planting, as set out in paragraph 1.10 of the report had been amended to include an increased quantum of trees, with 3,000 specimens to be planted.  Members were advised that the officer’s recommendation had been amended to defer to the Head of Development with a view to approval to allow for details of the triggers within the conditions to be clarified.


The application site was located approximately three kilometres south-west of Horsham and was outside and adjacent to the built-up area boundary of Christs Hospital.  It was grassland used for sports pitches in the summer months in the northern part of the school campus.  The sports centre was used by the school and members of the public. The school itself included two groups of Grade II* Listed Buildings.  There were a number of Grade II Listed Building residences nearby, and properties in Barnes Wallis Avenue and Bluecoat Ponds were close to the northwest boundary.


The Parish Council objected to the application.  There had been 60 representations objecting to the application, 152 supporting the application, and eight commenting on the proposal.  Both Local Members had requested that the application be determined by the Committee. Three members of the public spoke in objection to the application. The Headmaster of Christs Hospital, the applicant’s Transport Adviser and the applicant’s agent all addressed the Committee in support of the proposal. Councillor Nigel Jupp also addressed the committee.  A representative of the Parish Council spoke in objection to the application.


Members considered the officer’s planning assessment which indicated that the key issues for consideration in determining the proposal were:  the principle of development; the need and benefit of the proposal; impact on landscape; design, layout and specification of the facilities; impact on the Listed Buildings; highways; and neighbouring amenity.


Members discussed aspects of the proposal including: the scale of the proposal and its impact on landscape character; the capacity for holding large scale events which would impact on highways and amenity; the amenity of nearby residents, particularly in Bluecoat Ponds; and the extent to which the proposal would benefit the local community.  Members weighed the benefits of the proposal against the identified harm to the landscape character and after careful consideration concluded that the proposal was unacceptable.




The planning application DC/18/1268 be refused for the following reasons:


01   The proposal results in significant landscape harm in a countryside location which is not outweighed by the benefits of the development. The scheme is therefore contrary to Policies 25 and 26 of the Horsham District Planning Framework (2015).


02   The development would result in an adverse effect upon the amenity of the neighbouring residents by virtue of noise and light contrary to Policy 33 of the Horsham District Planning Framework (2015).

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