Former Nazi bomb target in Chichester could be energy site

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A war-time Nazi bomb target on the outskirts of Chichester has now been declared as ‘acceptable in principle’ for a major new development to provide energy from commercial and industrial waste.

The site, formerly used as a Ministry of Defence fuel depot, is in Bognor Road, next to the A27.

Following technical work by West Sussex County Council, the location will be included in a draft county waste local plan, for informal public consultation, subject to a final decision by deputy county council leader Cllr Lionel Barnard, who has responsibility for communities, environment and enterprise.

The site, used as a petrol store for fighter aircraft operating from nearby Tangmere airfield during the second world war, was targeted by the Luftwaffe, although the bombs failed to hit it and fell nearby.

However, the site’s acceptability as a possible location, and its proposed inclusion in the plan, does not necessarily mean an energy from waste development will go ahead.

This depends on the landowner, on whether a commercial company wants to operate a facility on the site, and on planning issues being resolved.

Reports presented at a meeting of the county council’s environmental and community services select committee said the site could potentially be used to provide energy from commercial and industrial waste, using a large shed which would need a chimney stack.

But there were no proposals to use it for municipal waste or incineration of municipal waste.

The draft plan, presented at the select committee meeting on Friday, said the site was about 4.8 hectares.

It could be used to deliver a single built facility, or a number of smaller facilities.

A landscape assessment would be needed, with height restrictions on the development – if it goes ahead – to protect views of Chichester Cathedral and to the South Downs National Park.

Other development principles included consideration of issues such as:

n Archaeological remains and possible mitigation.

n Ground contamination.

n Impacts such as noise and odour on the amenities of homes, and possible mitigation.

n The possible use of rail for the movement of waste.

n The impact of additional HGV movements at the A27/A259 junction and the Drayton Lane/A259 junction.

n A routeing agreement to ensure vehicles used the A27 and the A259 and did not travel through the city centre.

Cllr Derek Deedman, chairman of a working group set up to consider provision for commercial and industrial waste in West Sussex, said they were only saying certain sites were suitable for waste facilities. If the strategic plan was approved, it would be up to the industry to take forward sites through the planning process.

“We are not committing these sites definitely for this,” he stressed.