Growers study impact of horticulture on regional economy

Growers in West Sussex are planning to undertake a study to highlight the importance of the horticulture industry to the economy of the region, in their aim to encourage local planners to consider growers' needs as well as approving housing developments.

West Sussex Growers' Association (WSGA), including Yoder Toddington and Walberton Nursery, are asking local councils to help support the £16,900 study.

WSGA vice-chairman Patrick Bastow said: "This study is to help local planners make planning decisions for growers and to understand the needs of growers in West Sussex over the next 20 years."

Bastow added: "It's hard to get planning permission in this region and as well as the availability of land issues, we are facing the issues of water availability and energy costs.

"We're competing against land for housing. We need to start liaising more with councils for future land needs as well as future housing needs. There are smaller members who want to expand organically."

He also said the group was keen to improve transport links.

The association is following the example of the Lea Valley Growers' Association, which undertook a study that Bastow believes "helped influence the Lea Valley development plan" and benefited growers.

West Sussex County Council has committed £2,000 to the project, and the WSGA has approached South East England Development Agency and local councils for funds, as well as contributing itself.

Reading Agricultural Consultants is poised to take the project on.


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