Public laughter at 1,600-home Whitehouse Farm plans

Whitehouse Farm
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MEMBERS of the public and councillors have laughed at planners over their ideas to improve biodiversity, drainage and cycling with the White House Farm development.

Consultants involved in phase one of a 1,600 home build were questioned by residents and councillors at a Q&A session on Monday (March 23).

Surely you are aware when you build a development, biodiversity is dramatically affected

Clare Apel, Chichester district councillor

Representatives for the planning consultant WYG, gave a presentation explaining how they have mitigated residents’ concerns about loss of biodiversity, traffic congestion and flooding in their plans for the initial 750-home build.

But they were laughed at for suggesting parents would walk children to school, residents would cycle, and the site wouldl improve biodiversity.

Cllr Clare Apel, district councillor for Chichester West, said: “Surely you are aware when you build a development, biodiversity is dramatically affected?”

Martin Hawthorne, WYG director, said the plans retained 90 per cent of existing hedgerows and trees and included around 50 hectares of green space including wide green corridors, allotments and a country park.

He said that domestic gardens often created greater biodiversity than corn fields.

Cllr Mark Dunn, district councillor for Westbourne, said it was unrealistic for planners to expect residents to cycle instead of drive.

He said: “Cycling is one of those buzz words developers use to justify development.

How many people came here by cycle? How many people do their shopping on a cycle?”

Matt Russell, director at transport planning and infrastructure design consultancy Vectos, said their survey figures have shown that residents are comfortable to cycle in the city.

People sat in the public gallery laughed at that assertion.

Residents questioned how the development could lead to improvements in drainage.

Paul Stewart, a drainage consultant for the development, said flooding had been monitored over three winter seasons to ensure they understood the causes of floods.

He said some methods of reducing surface water run-off included repairing a collapsed culvert and creating a foul water pumping station.