Victory for developers in Westhampnett housing bid

A SCHEME for 100 homes has been approved at appeal despite the fact it will ‘join’ two villages.

A planning inspector this week upheld an appeal made by City and Urban Securities Limited, which was denied permission in November, 2012, to construct 100 homes at Maudlin Nursery Hanging Basket Centre, in Stane Street, Westhampnett.

In upholding the developer’s appeal, Jane Miles wrote: “The proposed development would join the villages of Maudlin and Westhampnett to a greater extent than is currently the case, resulting in the loss of some open land that currently provides a green and/or relatively open link to the wider rural landscape.”

However, she said, because Chichester District Council could not demonstrate a five-year supply of housing land, the scheme could help reduce the deficit.

“I find this to be a 
significant material consideration,” she wrote.

She acknowledged the ‘contentious’ gap between Westhampnett and Maudlin, but disagreed with the district council’s assertion that it was significant.

“I cannot agree with the council’s view that there is a clear sense of leaving one village before arriving at the other, or that the space between them is primarily rural in character,” she wrote in the appeal decision.

She ruled the benefits of the development would outweigh any potential harm to the area.

The appeal decision came days before a decision by Chichester District Council’s planning committee to allow 11 affordable homes on land north of Gribble Lane, 
in Oving.

The combination of the 
two developments means approved developments have taken up all available capacity currently quoted at the Tangmere waste water treatment works.

District councillor Simon Oakley said developers may now follow the lead taken by the recently-permitted 112-house application in Stockbridge to propose installing package treatment plants within their sites.

Cllr Oakley has already raised concerns at planning committee and full council meetings over the plants, particularly with regard to their reliability and long-term maintenance.

He also questioned whether fragmenting the sewage treatment infrastructure network so short-term housing targets could be 
met was sustainable in the long term.