Westhampnett to continue fight to protect village

The proposed Westhampnett development site.  Based on Ordnance Survey Mapping � Crown copyright. Media 063/13'NOT TO BE USED AFTER DEC 31, 2013, AND MUST CREDIT
The proposed Westhampnett development site. Based on Ordnance Survey Mapping � Crown copyright. Media 063/13'NOT TO BE USED AFTER DEC 31, 2013, AND MUST CREDIT

A PARISH council has said it will continue to stand firm in the face of large-scale development.

At the start of the month, Westhampnett Parish Council held its first meeting since its chairman, Henry Adams, passed away at the end of July.

Bob Holman was appointed as the new chairman, with Bill Harding taking over as vice chairman.

Cllr Harding said the council would continue its stance against the proposed Old Place Farm development – as set out in Chichester District Council’s draft local plan – to which Mr Adams was passionately opposed.

“He was an absolute brick when it came to what he was doing for the community,” Cllr Harding said.

Earlier this year, Mr Adams wrote a letter to the Observer, in which he said the development would ‘destroy’ the parish, as it would be linked to Chichester, with nothing to separate the village from the city.

A number of residents turned up for the meeting on September 9 to comment on the proposals.

Cllr Jean Hardstaff confirmed the council’s continued position this week – saying it stood firm against the developers, in line with the parish’s previous position.

Concerns over flooding and its proximity to Goodwood saw initial plans for 1,500 homes on the site drop to 500.

However, many believe this is still too high.

Of the 500, Cllr Jean Hardstaff said around 350 were in the Westhampnett parish boundary, with the rest within Chichester City Council’s boundary.

“We feel this is no longer a strategic site and that it should be dealt with under the neighbourhood plans for both Chichester and Westhampnett,” she said.

“Also, as far as Westhampnett is concerned, the number should be reduced by 100 to take account of the 100 homes that have been approved for the Maudlin Nurseries site.”

In July, a planning inspector upheld an appeal to construct 100 homes at Maudlin Nursery Hanging Basket Centre, in Stane Street, Westhampnett.

The impact of these additional 100 homes is yet to be dealt with in the draft local plan.

A spokesman for Commerical Estates Group said the company had worked closely with the parish council and hoped to continue to do so.

He added: “This strategic area identified by the council is the most sustainable in the district and we believe very much in bringing a quality development that can enhance both Chichester and Westhampnett.

“It is vital for the continued managed and controlled growth of Chichester that the council adopts a sound local plan, and we will continue to work towards achieving this.”

Go to www.westhampnettpc.co.uk to see the parish council’s response.