LOCAL PLAN: Chichester district could take more houses

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DEVELOPERS claim building nearly 7,000 new homes in the district is not enough as they attempt to open the floodgates.

Chichester’s local plan talks of 6,973 new homes until 2029 – around 410 per year.

However, planning consultants have queued up to lambast the district’s development blueprint.

“I’m not convinced that the environmental constraints in themselves are a barrier to actually delivering more housing than the council has put forward at the moment,” said Graham Beck, of Luken Beck, representing Barratt David Wilson Homes.

He was pinpointing Bosham’s neighbourhood plan, which he said was drastically under providing the number of homes in the village.

Bosham has been allocated 50 homes in the local plan, with the village’s neighbourhood plan team actually working towards nearly 60 homes.

However, Mr Beck described the parish as being able to deliver 265 dwellings.

“You have a parish neighbourhood plan that’s working its way towards its 50 target.

“There’s an enormous problem in this parish with affordable housing. It’s not been mentioned yet,” he said.

It was argued the 6,973 figure was a cap the council has imposed and the figure should instead be ‘at least’ 410 homes per year, with a figure of around 575 proposed as objectively-assessed housing needs.

Paul White also spoke on Tuesday. He is the director of planning at Genesis Planning, which represents Wates Developments – the firm looking to build homes in Bracklesham and East Wittering.

He queried why the parish was only down for 100 homes, when it had previously been labelled for 600.

“It’s not a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, it’s just flat landscape,” he said.

“Please bear in mind the East Wittering and Bracklesham settlement hub is not constrained by the Chichester Harbour area of outstanding natural beauty as Birdham is for instance.”

Barely any parish escaped unscathed. Southbourne is working towards a 300-home target, but Roger Daniels, of the Pegasus Planning Group, said this number should be closer to 600.

He said Southbourne had a railway line and school, compared to Tangmere which has neither but is still expected to take 1,000 homes.

Regarding Tangmere, Mike Allgrove, planning policy manager at Chichester District Council, said: “In terms of coalescence issues in between Chichester and Emsworth and some of the constraints that apply on the Manhood Peninsula and north of the plan area. Those constraints are not apparent in the same way at Tangmere.”

Developers argued the council let parishes dictate how many homes their area was prepared to take, then built the local plan around it.

“That’s not intended to be the case,” said Mr Allgrove.

He said parishes were aware neighbourhood plans would need to conform to the local plan.