Chichester city council defends call to build new town

A recent call for the idea of a new town to be considered to help meet Chichester and Arun housing needs was defended at a meeting of the city council.

Ford was mentioned as a possible location, but the idea has provoked strong protests in neighbouring Arun, where it was angrily condemned.

Arun councillor Ricky Bower wrote to the Observer last week, saying: “Chichester’s problems are down to Chichester to resolve within its own boundaries.”

The city’s planning and conservation committee agreed last month to ask Chichester and Arun District Councils to open talks on the idea, put forward by Cllr Richard Plowman.

Cllr Plowman told the city council meeting there were problems with all the possible sites for housing suggested for the southern part of the Chichester district.

“This is why I suggested fresh thinking, and that perhaps we should look again at a new town as a possibility,” he said.

New towns required quite a large number of people, to get the infrastructure right.

He had mentioned Ford might be a possibility, and since doing so had become persona non grata.

Ford was an example of a place where there was a large amount of brownfield land and also good communications.

“We asked that the district should perhaps contemplate this for discussion,” he added.

The city council was planning a public meeting to discuss the district’s housing proposals for the area on September 21 (taking place at the Assembly Room at 7pm) and maybe some people from Ford would be going along.

Cllr Andrew Smith said the prospect of having a new town in the Arun district at the request of anyone in the Chichester district was zero.

The city council backed the committee’s decision to support one of the five housing options put forward by the district council, which would see major new development focused at Tangmere.

It also supported the idea of backing the lowest possible number of houses proposed in options - a building rate of 305 homes a year.

Committee chairman Cllr Michael Woolley said Tangmere had very good road access and a lot of brownfield land, and it needed a decent centre. It also had a sewage works that could be expanded.

Cllr Tony Dignum said he fully supported the Tangmere option, but warned the Whitehouse Farm area of Chichester was still in the running for development.