Plans to build a new home for retailer Pets Corner in Hickstead have been recommended for refusal by council planning officers.
Mid Sussex District Council’s District Planning Committee is due to make the final decision on the application for offices and a regional distribution centre off the A23 today (Thursday November 26).
Ten letters of objection have been received by the council to the scheme, which is considered by planners to be ‘unacceptable in principle’ and contrary to policies protecting the countryside.
But Dean Richmond, managing director of Pets Corner, said in July: “The equation for us is pretty simple. We need to buy a new home urgently (up to 60,000 sq.ft) and Northlands Farm fits the bill perfectly. If it doesn’t happen we will have to move, most probably into the M4 corridor.
“However, if the planning application goes through we will build a new headquarters that would represent one of the most outstanding examples of sustainable and eco-friendly construction (pictured) and become a home to over 100 existing and newly-recruited staff.”
Both Twineham and Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common parish councils have objected, as have Burgess Hill Town Council and the Hustpierpoint Society.
According to Pets Corner the development would generate between 200 and 325 jobs over a 24 month construction period, 370 to 465 full-time jobs and approximately £2 million in business rates for the district council.
If approved business space could also be available for other businesses, and Partridge Green-based Dark Star Brewery has expressed an interest.
Paul Reed, its managing director, said: “We are so enthusiastic about this development that we have not seriously progressed any other options, but if this doesn’t work are likely to move to maintain the good road links but unfortunately away from the area where we are best known.”
The committee will be held in public at the council offices in Oaklands Road, Haywards Heath, starting at 2pm.
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