The schoolyard bully is back to pick on its victim – that is how Tangmere Parish Council has described the latest consultation on planning across the district.
Residents packed into the village hall for a parish council meeting in which people were urged to fight and protect their community against the draft plans which could see the area swamped by up to 1,500 homes on prime greenfield land.
Parish council chairman Andrew Irwin said the plans were like the ‘repetition of a bad nightmare’ after fighting similar plans six years ago.
In each of the five options put forward by Chichester District Council this month for the new Local Development Core Strategy, Tangmere is singled out for significant numbers of homes, ranging from the lowest 800 to the maximum of 1,500.
Cllr Irwin criticised Chichester District Council’s labelling of Tangmere as a settlement hub – an area for potential development which had access to good community facilities – and described the plans as unsustainable.
He said before any housing could be built in the village, it should be provided with all the necessary community facilities it had been denied since homes were first built there in the 1980s.
“In terms of Chichester the most sustainable location is the city; it has all the retail opportunities, all the employment opportunities, all the recreational activities in place already,” said Cllr Irwin.
“Southbourne has a large secondary school, a railway station, the facilities at Bourne Community College is adjacent to the A27 – Southbourne could easily be a settlement hub.
“Developments on the glasshouse site and Blenheim Park – those areas are brownfield and we conceded those early on. Now the schoolyard bully has come back for more and wants to put in large amounts of housing round the whole of the village.
“You have to access Tangmere by the A27. For anyone who wants to go westwards, it is quite crowded there already.
“There is no train station and whether development is in Chichester or Tangmere, it will have the same issues with the A27.
“We don’t want any greenfield housing until the issue of the A27 improvements is solved.
“I don’t see the difference of putting housing in the city and putting it three miles away in Tangmere. It’s still the same road, still the same problem.
“The village told us they wanted a maximum of 300 houses, not greenfield, so we got Blenheim Park. Three hundred houses over 1,000 – that is a 30 per cent increase.
“We want what this village has failed to have. We have grown much faster than anywhere else and we haven’t got community cohesion that a village which has been established for years and years has. We need time to grow.
“I don’t want to start fingerpointing at other villages but we can’t accommodate 1,500 houses without facilities.”
Cllr Irwin also gave a brief overview of a similar exercise held in 2005 in which 1,900 homes were earmarked for Tangmere.
There were gasps from members of the public as he showed them the potential development map which had been submitted then.
He said CDC had not moved on. “What is it about this proposal? Everything is ‘Tangmere gets this, Tangmere gets this’ – it’s as if they have already made their decision.
“This plan shows they have not developed their thinking any further than 2003 when the Tangmere Development Consortimum approached them.
“I wouldn’t be too cynical that they have gone through a consultation process to satisfy an inspector”
Cllr Irwin questioned the economic case for building more houses, when not all the properties in the Blenheim Park development were sold.