LETTER: Northlands Farm is the only option

Your letters
Your letters

Following the article published in the Mid Sussex Times entitled ‘Controversial pet store plans revealed’ dated Thursday July 23 2015, I would like to take this opportunity to address a few of the points raised in the article and in particular in response to Mr Livett’s concerns about our proposals for Pets Corner.

First, I would like to emphasise that we have carried out an extensive two year search for appropriate and available brown field land in Mid Sussex exhausting every possible avenue and it has been clear from our thorough research that land of this type is simply not available.

If Mr Livett is able to find any for us it would indeed be our preference. It certainly isn’t (as he states) because we are trying to source a cheaper location – if our requirement was purely cost motivated we would not be looking to occupy in Mid Sussex and would not be planning such an environmentally conscious building.

The proposed development Mr Livett mentions for ‘The Hub’ commercial park was indeed one of the possibilities we considered but after many months of discussion it is clear the landlord will only rent and is not able to develop a building to our specification. This has resulted in the decision that the most appropriate and only land in Mid Sussex, which will meet our needs, is at the Northlands Farm site.

The proximity of Northlands Farm to the A23, nearby Ricebridge Services and Burgess Hill town centre with its many industrialised units, make the site the most appropriate choice for development of this nature for a county which is seeing a rapid increase of population with 4,000 residential homes needed in Burgess Hill alone by 2031.

The ‘Burgess Hill Employment Study Update’ carried out in March 2015 suggests (to sustain local employment) a further 15 hectares of employment land is to be found by 2030 on top of which is already granted.

There is no suitable location in Haywards Heath or Hassocks and I am sure there would be little public support. Nor would we be keen on either due to both having poorer transport links. I cannot think of a single location in Mid Sussex that is more suitable than our proposed location. Your readers can find the report here: http://www.midsussex.gov.uk/planning/8847.htm

In order to retain the integrity of the site, whilst addressing infrastructure and the resulting requirement of employment for a growing population, our proposals will not only benefit the local economy but safeguard the area’s natural credentials.

Our plans have been very carefully considered with an emphasis on, and great deal of sensitivity for, protecting the environment. This is evident in our proposals (these have yet to be reported but can be viewed at http://www.petscorner.co.uk/hub), which include the provision of facilities to protect nature and biodiversity including the following:

- Built using timber rather than steel and clad and insulated using natural materials.

- Enough solar panels on the roof to power 62 houses.

- Roof garden and living walls accommodating beehives and wild flower meadows.

- The UK’s largest insect wall and a 500m2 wildlife pond.

- 2m wide perimeter hedge to protect wildlife.

The land is currently designated for a cattle market and it is my belief that should the land eventually be utilised in this way that there is every possibility for the land to be simply concreted over. This may include permission to run activities such as car boot sales and other high traffic generating events. Eventually this field will be used for commercial use and we think our scheme is the most sympathetic.

Pets Corner was started by my parents in 1968 in Haywards Heath, I was brought up in Burgess Hill and our staff are all locally based. We genuinely believe Northlands Farm is absolutely our only option in order to locate in the area where we have established firm roots.

DEAN RICHMOND

Managing Director, Pets Corner, Queensway, Crawley

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