A major study of Chichester to assess just how many new homes it can absorb without damaging its historic character is being urged.
The city council’s planning and conservation committee was told similar studies had already been undertaken in other historic cities, including Bath.
“There should be a study which would ask whether we can enlarge Chichester without destroying what people come here to see,” said chairman Cllr Michael Woolley.
Cllr Richard Plowman said a number of cities with medieval centres had been subject to special reviews of what their capacity for new housing. “The time has come to ask for a similar sort of review here in Chichester,” he added.
They should push forward the idea of a special study of Chichester, as an ancient, lovely city, in relationship to its capacity for new houses, without destroying what was an important historic place; the study needed to be carried out before decisions on how many new homes could be built.
Cllr Plowman said people should also stop talking about numbers of houses, and talk about communities instead.
“We should start to think about the communities that will result from these houses, and how they will integrate into the local neighbourhood,” he asserted.
Cllr Woolley said just to put huge housing estates on the edge of Chichester would be a great mistake. Somewhere like the existing Parklands estate, with a green, a church, shops and a school, was a very good development.
The committee declared it was firmly against the idea of the new housing development proposed for the Daffodil Field, between Lavant and the city.
It was also opposed to the idea of new houses at Whitehouse Farm, near the Centurion Way route. Cllr Plowman said this would be a very isolated community – and the site was also prime agricultural land. There would be problems over sewage disposal issues.
The committee indicated possible support for new development at the Shopwyke Lakes site, near the A27, and possible support for homes at Old Place Farm, near Goodwood.