Accusation of broken promises over Southbourne home sites

A DEVELOPER has been accused of reneging on an agreement with a community after rushing to submit more planning applications.

Southbourne Parish Council and the Southbourne neighbourhood plan steering group spent 2013 working on the village’s neighbourhood plan, which needs to incorporate 350 new homes as part of its status as a settlement hub in the Chichester District Council local plan.

The parish said Seaward Properties was one of many developers invited to consultation meetings with villagers, in which it could present development proposals.

However, it has since submitted planning applications for a total of 269 homes on three different sites in the village, before the neighbourhood plan could be submitted.

“Despite our efforts to retain a consistent dialogue with developers, Seaward Properties appear to have reneged on their original scheme, and have now submitted a planning application for a much increased number of units, also increasing the number of sites,” said a statement released by the parish council.

“Southbourne Parish Council does not support or endorse the application.

“Southbourne Parish Council is extremely disappointed that Seaward Properties have chosen to submit their planning application for their enlarged scheme prior to the finalisation of our neighbourhood plan, which has been formulated by the comments, aspirations and many hours of work and commitment contributed by volunteers in our community.”

The consultation meetings are still ongoing.

A further meeting was held on Thursday (May 15) at 7.30pm in Southbourne village hall, where residents heard about the plan, asked questions and made comments.

The plan will now be revised and sent to Chichester District Council, then there will be a further six-week consultation.

Other developers have also lined up possibilities for building in the village, with Carter Jonas hoping to build on land at Stein Road, and Crayfern Homes looking to build on land at Gosden Green. These are yet to submit planning applications.

Resident Brian Donnelly, of Fraser Gardens, said developers seemed to be rushing to submit applications for sites that might be deemed unsuitable for development in the plan.

“This may not be particularly unique to Southbourne but seems to be, frankly, a bit crazy,” he said.

“We are encouraged to embrace the neighbourhood planning mechanism, which our parish council is doing, but by the time the plan comes into force, certain sites it sought to protect from development might already be gone.”

The Observer contacted Seaward Properties, but a spokesman for the company declined to comment.