The 5 acre (2ha) Nursery site forms the first phase of a wider 37 acre (15ha) site that Landform is working on to deliver a further 225 homes together with new allotments, a public orchard, sports facilities and new public open space. The two schemes are part of the West of Bersted strategic extension comprising 2,500 new homes.
Pat Cullen and Alastair Smyth, who run Chalcroft Nursery are seeking planning consent from Arun District Council because the businesses on the Bersted site are growing so fast they need to expand and modernise.
Alastair Smyth said: “Chalcroft Nursery, which has been operating as a nursery and garden centre since around 1938, is enjoying brisk trading for its food produce and wants to expand its horticultural growing area as well as create space for a new cafe area.”
He added that the nursery, one of the few in the Bognor Regis district, has been particularly popular during lockdown because of demand from shoppers for local vegetables and other produce, as well as plants to grow at home.
The Nursery is the main tenant on the site along with St Wilfrid’s Hospice which runs a purpose-built 650 sqm (7,000 sqft) storage and sales building which they have been occupying since 2016. The warehouse and sales building – where the charity sells second-hand goods – has been so successful that St Wilfrid’s, wants to occupy another building of a similar size.
An outline planning application for the site, which Landform has submitted also includes planning permission for 20 homes with new laid out roads, parking and landscaping. The revenue from the residential use will help to fund the new access road and improved services.
Mr Smyth added that “when completed, the new development will result in a greatly improved facility with a relocated access road that will meet full highway standards to reduce noise and nuisance for people living close by. This site is a long-term investment, and we want to be able to provide better and more modern facilities.”
At present, there are about 31 full-time staff and about 8 part-time staff employed at the site, with a few of these working in a voluntary role for the charity shop and warehouse for St Wilfrid’s Hospice.
The Nursery planning application is due to be determined shortly by Arun DC and follows extensive pre-application meetings with Bersted Parish Council, nearby local residents and all the statutory consultees.
An application for the second phase of 225 homes is due to be submitted in the next few weeks and it is hoped that if planning consent is forthcoming, then both sites will commence development work in the New Year.