Hours increase for commercialized Southwater business park rejected

Oakhurst Business Park Southwater (Photo from Google Maps Street View)

The request, submitted by the council itself, called for eight units in Southwater Park to be allowed to open 20 more hours per week.

Currently, the units can operate from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

The application requested that the hours be extended until 9 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on Saturdays.

A report to the committee said no units had been rented since December 2020, with “restrictive” hours of operation being given as one of the reasons for the continued lack of interest.

But committee members felt allowing the change would set a precedent.

Claire Vckers (Con, Southwater North) said: “I appreciate the economic benefits of renting these buildings to the local economy, and I don’t want to stifle those benefits.

“However, I am concerned that this does indeed set a precedent.

“I do not believe that these buildings cannot be rented with the current schedules.

“We have been through a difficult period for the last 18 months and I think that with more marketing it should be possible to rent these buildings.

Ms Vickers said the proposed hours were “a step too far” and called the candidacy “premature”.

This was a view shared by residents who live nearby, with one claiming that the increased hours would result in “intrusive noise disturbance.”

Another called the app “stealth planning,” while some predicted that overtime would be added over time, either to these units or to others.

To view the app, log into public-access.horsham.gov.uk and search for DC / 21/0625

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