Report by Head of Planning Services.
To consider and determine the following application:
WSCC/049/20 – Erection of Horsham Fire Station and Training Centre, including training buildings, ancillary building, car parking, landscaping, access and emergency access onto A24. Land at Highwood Village, East of A24, Horsham, RH12 1GF.
5.1 In accordance with the Council’s Constitution on Planning and Probity on Planning and Rights of Way, Councillor Millson relinquished her seat as a member of Planning and Rights of Way Committee in order to speak on the application as the local member, County Councillor for Horsham Riverside. Councillor Millson took no part in the debate and voting on the application.
5.2 The Committee considered a report by the Head of Planning Services, as amended by Agenda Update Sheet No. 2, which incorporated all previous updates listed in the original Agenda Update sheet (copies appended to the signed copy of the minutes). The report was introduced by Edward Anderson, who gave a presentation on the proposals, details of the consultation and key issues in respect of the application.
5.3 Mrs Trudie Mitchell, Chairman, Horsham Denne Neighbourhood Council (HDNC) spoke on the application and raised some objections. In general, HDNC supports the application and appreciates amendments made to reduce the overall size of building. The gold coloured metal cladding on the Live Fire Training tower is building is too garish; the tower and proposed colour are completely out of character with the location and existing building materials, and because the building faces the setting sun there are safety concerns for traffic on the adjacent A24. A more subdued colour should be considered. Highwood roundabout presents problems for both motorists and pedestrians. Confusing lane markings on the slip road approaching the roundabout means motorists switch lanes unexpectedly. It is very difficult to access the only footpath to Broadbridge Heath due to poor sight lines at the crossing points and the 40mph speed limit means vehicles approach too quickly for safe crossing. Problems will be exacerbated by the introduction of emergency vehicles and fire station traffic. It was suggested that traffic signals should be installed during construction of the development.
5.4 Mr John Lacey, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) spoke in support of the application. Fire fighter training is mandatory and currently this is either undertaken at small fire stations or outside the county. West Sussex has no purpose-built, specialist training facility. This would be the first new fire station in West Sussex since 1974. Fire training has had to change to meet new risks and realistic training needs to be delivered, which needs to be done in a safe environment. The development is designed to be a centre of excellence, using state of the art technology and training delivery methods. The facility would also address some of the matters raised in the 2018 HMIC inspection by providing facilities that attract a more diverse workforce. The site has been identified in planning policy for over a decade and was included in the outline planning permission for Highwood village. WSRFS has engaged the community in plans for the site and will continue to do so during construction and operation. The development has been adapted to make it more ascetically pleasing and to be environmentally sustainable. The development is ... view the full minutes text for item 5