Goodwood threatens meltdown if houses go ahead

Goodwood Festival of Speed
Goodwood Festival of Speed

GOODWOOD has warned it could fold if plans for 1,000 homes go ahead on its boundary.

Noise complaints from homes built close to the motor circuit could see the end of the Festival of Speed and Revival, the estate has claimed.

Commercial Estates Group wants to build 1,000 homes on the land between the motor circuit and Westhampnett and Chichester.

However, the district council allocated the strategic housing site for 500 homes, saying there needed to be a 400-metre buffer between the motor circuit and any new homes to avoid noise complaints.

Adam Ross, from Nexus Planning, told a government inspector last week the estate and council had provided nothing but ‘assertions’ in the face of evidence.

Haydn Morris, of Terence O’Rourke, representing the Goodwood estate, said the circuit’s future was in doubt if the homes went ahead.

“From the outset of this extension we’ve raised with you the concern that the estate has for the future of the motor circuit, should a big number of houses be located on its boundary,” he told inspector Sue Turner at the Chichester local plan inquiry last Wednesday.

“The motor circuit and indeed the aerodrome play vital roles in the estate’s economy and therefore within the economy of the district.

“The estate was in quite severe financial difficulties following the first world war and has struggled until about 20 years or so ago when the current Lord March took it up and through his interest in motor racing put the motor racing circuit back.

“It’s a very tightly constrained and managed site.

“We would like – as many businesses would – to evolve that business because it’s vital to the estate and district and we fear that any housing, as has been mentioned this morning, close to this circuit gives this opportunity for numerous complaints and noise abatement notices that could constrain the ability of the circuit to evolve in response to market demands.

“Should that fail then with it will fail both events held there – the Festival of Speed and Revival.”

Goodwood’s estate manager Alun Rees added: “The two events are 100 per cent responsible for the entire profits the estate receives to keep it alive.”

He said there were 600 employees at the Goodwood estate and 280 at the circuit.

The district council believes the site is only capable of supporting 500 homes and if 1,000 were built, new residents would make complaints about the motor circuit and it would have to put noise abatement orders on Goodwood that could limit its activities.

Mr Ross appeared angry at Goodwood and the council’s angle, saying there was no evidence to support the claims. The developer provided a noise expert who supported CEG’s view.

“We wouldn’t propose anything that would result in the closing down of that business,” said Mr Ross.

“We’ve looked at it robustly and come up with a proposal that would respond to that. I can’t see why this would 
have the threat that’s being said to you.”

Westhampnett Parish Council has disputed the 500 homes on the Old Place Farm site, with 350 on land between Stane Street on Madgwick Lane, saying it should be allowed to choose where to accommodate them elsewhere in the parish.