110 home build plan for Earnley rejected despite ‘irresponsible’ behaviour warning

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A 110 home planning application for Earnley will go to appeal after councillors rejected it despite being warned this decision was ‘immature and irresponsible’.

Chichester District Council’s Planning Committee went against officers’ recommendations yesterday and refused to give permission to Wates Developments’ plan to build on land East of Barton Way and South of Clappers Lane.

Wates’ previous plan for 160 homes went to appeal and the inspectorate rejected it on the grounds of character and density.

Councillors discussed their concerns about the unsustainable site and the affect on the highways but chairman Andrew Smith and planning officer Andrew Frost warned that these would not be reasons which would stand up at appeal.

Cllr Smith said: “I think if the council votes to refuse on the grounds suggested it would be a fairly immature and irresponsible.

“It puts the council at a grave risk of having to award substantial costs.”

Mr Frost said: “Objections on highway capacity or sustainability will not hold up. The risk is that this can, and probably will be, found to be unreasonable and there could be a demand for costs for going to appeal.”

Cllr Philippa Hardwick said: “If we chose to over turn it there will be an appeal. It will be incredibly expensive to the residents of this district.

“I find four incredibly strong planning presumptions in favour of development so I can’t see how we can reject this at the moment but I feel sorry for the community.”

But cllr Graeme Barrett proposed they refuse on grounds including; unreliable flood risk data, issues with sewage and transport modelling, and a lack of support from the emerging local neighbourhood plan.

Councillors voted in favour of this proposal and the application was refused.

David Brocklebank, MD of Wates Developments said after the meeting: “Wates Developments is very disappointed with the outcome of the Planning Committee meeting after a strong recommendation from Officers and clear direction that the scheme should be allowed, making an important contribution to the local housing supply.

“Regrettably, a planning appeal will follow as soon as possible.”