VOTE: Should more be done to protect the gap between Chichester and Lavant?

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OBJECTORS were celebrating as councillors unanimously voted to turn down an application for 92 homes.

The outline application for 92 homes on land north of Keepers Wood, Lavant Road, Lavant, was turned down at a development control committee meeting last Wednesday.

More than 100 objectors attended the meeting to raise concerns about the plan.

Local councillor Tony Dignum spoke against the application. He said he was ‘delighted’ the officers were recommending refusal.

“The reasons for refusal have been set out cogently and irrefutably in the report,” he said.

“Unlike Hunter’s Rest, where a filling station divided the strategic gap, there is no argument in this case.”

He said the plan would ‘substantially reduce’ the strategic gap by 37 per cent.

He listed other concerns including the ‘unacceptable’ design, the impact of aircraft noise on new homes and the dangers of access being from a 60mph road.

Other objectors speaking at the meeting included county councillor Mike Hall, parish councillor Ian Hutton, Summersdale Residents’ Association chairman Jeremy Hunt, and resident Nick Reynolds. There were 238 letters of objection from residents to the scheme.

Concerns included the loss of the strategic gap, a loss of rural character, the impact on existing listed buildings, the unsustainable nature of the location, the design and wastewater drainage.

Writing to object to the plan, Ben Kirk, of Hunters Race, said the road was already ‘dangerous’ and further developments were ‘simply unacceptable’ because they would make the problem worse. Patricia Morton, of Marchwood Gate, described the development as ‘very undesirable’.

Lavant Parish Council, Chichester City Council and the West Lavant Residents’ Association were also among the objectors.

Parish council members said they had ‘very real concerns’ about the plan.

In their letter they said: “Lavant, while fully aware of its responsibilities within a bigger society, is proud of its independence as a steadily developing rural community.

“We have strong ties with Chichester but the physical gap, which gives us our separate identity, is small enough already.”

The residents’ association agreed, writing: “We are residents of a hamlet which falls within the parish of Lavant and we feel strongly that Lavant should retain its own identity and not become an extension of Chichester.”

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