Westbourne planning inquiry continues over Long Copse Lane

Long Copse Lane. Picture by Kate Shemilt C131139-3
Long Copse Lane. Picture by Kate Shemilt C131139-3

A PLANNING inquiry into a ‘monstrous’ development for Westbourne continues today (October 31).

The three-day inquiry is being held into Chichester District Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for 22 homes on land near Long Copse Lane.

Yesterday, resident Jesse Grant asked planning inspector Janice Trask not to let the appeal from developer Southcott Homes Ltd go through.

“The developers have accused us of being nimbys,” he said, adding it stood for ‘not in my back yard’.

“Sixty metres from my back yard I’ve got 250 houses,” he said. “It’s my front yard I’m worried about.”

There are 280 homes being built to the south of the village at the former Hampshire Farm between Emsworth and Westbourne.

There are also developments under way nearby at Oak Tree Drive, Emsworth, and a 200-home estate at Copsey’s Nursery and Manor Farm in Denvilles, Havant. A further 350 homes are proposed for the village border with Southbourne.

Earlier this year, scaffolding was erected on the site to show the visual impact of what Mr Grant described as ‘these monstrous houses’.

Westbourne residents also hired a legal representative to speak at the inquiry – Louise Humphreys, the principal of Peyto Law, the planning and local government solicitors.

She told the inquiry the benefit 
the 22-home development would have on the five-year deficit in the district council’s housing land supply did not outweigh the damage it would do to the strategic gap between Westbourne and Emsworth.

In her opening statement on behalf of Southcott Homes, Rebecca Clutten said three of the four reasons the application was refused had now been resolved.

She said the council now ‘lives or dies by the strength of its landscape objection’.

Many villagers spoke in opposition to the development, including Vanessa Dowling, who reinforced the message that the villagers were not nimbys.

“We are the ones who can tell you the dangers of adding to an already fragile and over-stretched infrastructure. We are the ones looking to ensure the future of Westbourne for generations to come.”