FEARS have been raised over a ‘precedent’ for travellers on the Manhood Peninsula.
A planning inquiry held in Chichester last week heard, if an enforcement notice issued by the district council was overturned, it could lead to more sites in the future.
Appealing the enforcement notice which says he changed the site in Sidlesham Lane, Birdham, for the stationing of a mobile home without permission, Chris Milford told planning inspector Richard Perrins he could not consider living in a house.
“It’s not my way of life,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of Birdham Parish Council, Angela Parks said: “The parish council is also concerned about the precedent that this application may have and its impact on the local economy.
“The economy of the entire Manhood Peninsula, and of Birdham itself, is very reliant on horticulture and tourism, which are the main economic drivers of the area and its largest employers.”
She said the emerging local plan aimed to protect existing caravan and campsites on the peninsula, however it also discouraged further sites because of the impact they would have on the landscape, which was ‘integral’ to tourism .
Concern was also raised about the impact on the roads.
However, Joseph Cunnane, of Cunnane Town Planning, told the inquiry the district council had made no provision for gypsies in its draft local planning, adding: “There’s clearly a failure of policy here.”
He said there was an ‘overwhelming case’ for the site to be given planning permission, adding 65 per cent of the district was designated an area of outstanding natural beauty, a further 25 per cent was built up, leaving ten per cent for possible provision of a gypsy site.
He also queried why the district council had not met with the applicant to discuss the situation before issuing an enforcement notice.
Speaking outside the inquiry, Gill Keen, from the Alandale Road Residents’ Association, said structures including a stable block and amenities had appeared since permission was refused in April last year.
Chichester District Council is awaiting the result of the planning inquiry.