Westbourne residents sign up their opposition to more housing

"Keep our green and pleasant land"  Westbourne residents campaigning to keep their village being over developed.    Picture by Louise Adams C131444-1 Chi Westbourne
"Keep our green and pleasant land" Westbourne residents campaigning to keep their village being over developed. Picture by Louise Adams C131444-1 Chi Westbourne
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A FURTHER drastic step has been taken by villagers opposed to a proposed development in Westbourne.

Around 70 signs have been erected throughout the village by Westbourne residents, with anti-development slogans emblazoned on them.

One of the protestors, Vanessa Dowling, said: “We’ve had 70 boards made – similar to estate agents’ boards.

“Villagers are very passionate about wanting to save the meadow.”

Residents previously erected scaffolding earlier this year to highlight the impact they believe a 22-home development on a meadow at Long Copse Lane will have on the village.

The development was refused planning permission in May but is currently subject to an appeal, set to be heard in Chichester next week.

“We’ve had cars driving past, parking up and reading the signs.”

Of the meadow, she said: “It’s a historic meadow. It’s our little green lung that makes us remember we’re rural.”

The slogans on signs vary from serious to ‘tongue-in-cheek’ slogans, according to residents.

They include lines such as: ‘The sewers are full, so is the school... No to further development’, ‘Skylarks not car parks... Owls not trowels’, and ‘Already out of order – over-development on our border’.

It comes as the village is being targeted on all sides for development, with 280 homes being built to the south at the former Hampshire Farm between Emsworth and Westbourne.

There are also developments underway 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.

Vanessa added: “We’re not NIMBYs.

“We’ve got more social housing in our village than any of the villages in West Sussex.

“The roads are dangerous. You can’t park anywhere.

“Double buggies can’t fit on the pavement.

“Wheelchairs can’t fit on the pavement.”

Southcott Homes Ltd is appealing against Chichester District Council’s decision to turn down its plans for the housing development.

The bid was turned down in April with the council listing a string of reasons for its decision.

They included the fact the west part of the development would go beyond the existing built-up area into the surrounding rural area, which would be ‘harmful’ to the character of the area.

The council also raised concerns about the mixture of affordable and market housing in the scheme, safe car access and a lack of infrastructure to cope with the new homes.

A planning inquiry date has been set for the developer to put forward its case to a planning inspector.

The inquiry will start at 10am at East Pallant House, Chichester, on Tuesday (October 29).