Assurances given as Tangmere masterplan is unveiled at packed public meeting

Changes have been made to preserve the 'unique setting' of St Andrew's church
Changes have been made to preserve the 'unique setting' of St Andrew's church

Tangmere residents were given cast-iron assurances that there was no intention to increase the number of homes planned for the west of the village from the current total of 1,300, when the masterplan was unveiled on Tuesday (December 3).

At a packed meeting in the large hall of the village centre, residents heard from Countryside Properties – which is working with the district and parish council to deliver the project – that the first phase of building on the 189 acres of farmland could start in 2022 and potentially take between seven to 12 years to complete.

It will come with a package of community facilities – to be provided at unspecified stages during the building programme – including a new school and sports pavilion.

Countryside said they had built a plan that created a ‘one village’ vision and had worked hard to respect both the Neighbourhood Plan, an important archaeological site, and a more recent set of consultations.

As a result, the masterplan had removed an earlier proposal for a row of houses in the field north of the Grade 1 listed St Andrew’s Church to protect its unique setting.

It had also settled on a pedestrianised area where Malcolm Road would be extended to avoid it becoming a rat run and to create a genuine community focal area of shops and school.

At previous meetings some residents had strongly objected to an extended Malcolm Road having to accommodate through traffic and the plan respects that point of view – although it was hotly debated at Tuesday’s meeting with some fearing it would make car access more difficult between the two halves of the new Tangmere.

Transport was a key feature of this week’s public meeting – which was organised by Tangmere Parish Council and chaired by Andrew Irwin – especially in the broader context of an increasingly congested A27 and difficulties accessing Chichester and beyond.

There were also fears about land drainage given the high water table and sewage capacity but representatives of Countryside reassured the meeting that both had been thoroughly examined and provided for in the planning.

The Masterplan is now subject to detailed review by Chichester District Council. Following this review, and subject to the council’s decision, Countryside will then look to prepare and submit an outline planning application in 2020.

At that time, the district council is expected to compulsorily purchase land to facilitate the development.

Fears over a future increase in housing numbers were sparked by a previous increase from 1,000 to 1,300, by the high provision of park and open space, and by the moderate density levels of the housing.

But one of the Countryside representatives told the meeting: “The reason they selected us is that we deliver garden villages. We are very proud of that.

“It is all landscape-led to create places people love. We did a lot of capacity assessments and we came up with a garden village scheme that did site 1,300 dwellings well.

“We have carried out the technical evidence and seen that 1,300 is appropriate for this environment for a garden village and that is what you are going to get.”

Mike Bleakley from Chichester District Council added: “We anticipate, as you have been told, an application for 1,300 homes, no more than that.

“If that’s what submitted and that’s what’s approved that will be the limit. You cannot ever stop anybody from trying [for more housing numbers] but we don’t believe that there will be any pressure to increase those numbers.

“And I’m not sure the site has the capacity to go for higher numbers and provide the sort of high quality development you’ve seen tonight.”

The plan summary was:

– Underpinned by One Village vision

– Makes provision for the Tangmere Sustainable Movement Network, including the East-West corridor and the North-South link road

– Formation of a village main street as an extension of Malcolm Road

– Character areas to reflect Neighbourhood Plan requirements

– Landscape-led approach, contributing to Tangmere Green infrastructure network

– Sustainable drainage strategy underpinned by groundwater monitoring

– 30 per cent affordable housing, including 40 per cent intermediate

– Sustains and enhances open setting of St Andrew’s church and Conservation Area

– Full mix of supporting uses, infrastructure and public open space in accordance with Neighbourhood Plan requirements

– Makes provision for potential new community facility and sports pavilion