PLANS for a 20-home development in Southbourne have been given the green light despite fears it could open a gateway to further development on green fields.
The development in a field North of Main Road, on the western boundary of Southbourne, will include eight affordable homes and a ‘spine road’ which will continue all the way to the northern boundary of the site to ensure if future development is needed to the north of the site, it can be linked via that road.
Chichester District Council’s planning committee met last Wednesday and heard the site was included in Southbourne’s Neighbourhood Plan as being appropriate to take a development of 25 homes .
After much consultation with the community, it was decided that 20 homes would be a better fit.
Robert Hayes, chairman of the neighbourhood plan steering committee, said: “We’ve had a lot of feedback through the neighbourhood plan process.
“The innovative idea of having a road that can be linked up to further development should have been thought about 20 years ago.
“I support the design and the principal and make an absolute thank you to the developer for working with us.”
The 0.7ha site lies within the Emsworth to Chichester strategic gap and the land to the south Main Road falls within the Chichester Harbour AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
It is Grade 1 agricultural land but has not been cultivated for some time and its overgrown with brambles and nettles.
Cllr Martyn Bell said is biggest concern was about the further impact on the strategic gap.
“Have we decided it can be developed from Bosham to Havant? I’m worried if this development takes place, there will be argument for development South which is in the AONB.”
Cllr Quentin Cox said he was concerned that further development would take place to the north.
“Since you have a spine road that goes north of here, it penetrates the strategic gap and it opens it up to development.”
Planning officer Fjola Stevens told councillors the neighbourhood plan did not allocate any developments within the AONB.
She said: “The fact this is what the community wants shows the principal of this site is established.”
The majority of councillors highly commended the plan.
Cllr Janet Duncton said: “I thought it was a well thought out scheme. I even like the design of the houses.
“All in all I couldn’t find anything to say adversely. I commend the parish council and the team, this is how neighbourhood plans should work.”
Cllr Julie Tassell agreed: “I hope we have many more. Our community has been taken into consideration so well.”