Lavant residents try to save the gap at inquiry

Lavant residents outside East Pallant House
Lavant residents outside East Pallant House

THE view that inspired William Blake’s Jerusalem could be lost if plans for 92 homes get the thumbs-up.

This was the view of Lavant residents at the beginning of a four-day planning inquiry, which began on Tuesday.

‘Save the Gap’ campaigners have urged inspector David Cullingford to throw out plans from developer Taylor Wimpey for the homes on land north of Keepers Wood, at the northern tip of Chichester, known as the daffodil field.

More than 100 people gathered on Tuesday for the inquiry that will determine the future of the ‘revered’ site.

“It’s simply the wrong scheme, in the wrong place, with the wrong impact,” Lavant resident Nick Reynolds, of Pook Lane, told the inquiry.

Mr Reynolds told the inspector that it was believed Blake wrote the famous hymn after walking up the Trundle from Lavant.

Campaigners say if the development goes ahead it will effectively join Chichester and Lavant together.

Geoffrey Claridge, of The Close, said the gap between Chichester and Lavant was hugely important when people were leaving Chichester.

Representing RAGE (Residents Against Greenfield Encroachment), former planner and Lavant resident Derek Kingaby said the function of the gap was show those passing between the two there was a ‘clear distinction’.

Roger Hobbs, of Brandy Hole Lane, represented the Summersdale Residents’ Association.

He said the daffodil field was not an appropriate site for development.

“We have a long history of demonstrating a positive attitude and understanding the economic benefits of welcoming appropriate development into the area,” he said, citing development at Graylingwell and Roussillon barracks.

Developers and Chichester District Council have agreed on common ground that the district has a 3.8 year shortfall in its five-year-housing supply, but nevertheless the district argues the harm the development would cause still ‘significantly and demonstrably’ outweighed the benefits of granting it permission.

Speaking on behalf of the developers, Andrew Tabachnik, of Thirty Nine Essex Street, said the development would not join the two settlements together.

“We say it does no harm to the separate identity of each and it certainly won’t bring the two together,” he said. The inquiry finishes today