A new town might be the answer to solving Chichester and Arun housing problems, it has been claimed.
The city council’s planning and conservation committee agreed to urge Chichester District Council to start talks on the idea with neighbouring Arun – with Ford mentioned as a possible location for thousands of new homes.
This could dramatically reduce pressure on the city and areas surrounding it, and ease fears about the impact of major new housebuilding on inadequate roads and sewerage facilities.
City councillors were debating Chichester District Council’s consultation on how many new homes should be built in the south of the district in the years ahead, and where they should be located.
As well as putting forward the new town idea, they expressed a preference for the lowest of a range of annual housing targets – 305 a year. And out of five possible alternative options, they backed one featuring development spread across the area, with a focus on Tangmere.
The new town suggestion came from Cllr Richard Plowman, who declared that radical thinking and something new were needed.
He said all the options put forward by the district council had problems – including problems over sewage disposal and increased traffic.
“The only way we will get affordable housing with the right infrastructure is to think about a new town, starting from scratch, making it and designing it so the houses are affordable and reach eco-standards,” he said.
Given the number of houses proposed by the district, and the number Arun had to find, the two districts should get together to see if they could produce a new town to cover both Arun needs and Chichester needs. This should be explored.
“With all the options being put forward by the district council, we are trying to put a quart into a pint pot,” said Cllr Plowman. “I cannot see how this will provide good, viable communities.”
He was deeply concerned about the effect of some of the possible developments being considered.
Ford could be a possible area for a new town, and this might solve the affordable housing problem because land costs would not be so great, and there would be the proper infrastructure, making sure the right sewerage facilities, the right hospitals and the right schools were provided.
“We have to find a way to work together if we all have these problems, and I suspect Arun has the same issues as we have over infrastructure,” he declared.
In a debate on the district’s five alternative options for development, committee chairman Michael Woolley said Tangmere would be an extraordinarily good site for housing. It needed a good village centre, which could be provided.
Cllr Alan Chaplin agreed there was a substantial case for new development at Tangmere, and at Southbourne and Nutbourne.
Cllr Tony Dignum said any substantial development adjacent to the city was totally unacceptable. “The most obvious community with good access is Tangmere,” he added.
Cllr Derek James said if there was to be any development at all in Chichester, it should be to the east of the city. He favoured major development at Tangmere, with some at Southbourne and the Manhood, and possibly to the east of the city.