Battle to save Fishbourne farmland

Bethwines Farm, Fishbourne CONTRIBUTED PIC SUS-140519-114205001
Bethwines Farm, Fishbourne CONTRIBUTED PIC SUS-140519-114205001

A PLANNING battle over ‘sustainable’ building is brewing between housing developers and village residents.

Plans to build up to 75 new homes on land south of Ivy Lodge in Fishbourne are set to be submitted to Chichester District Council.

But objectors have been mounting their campaign against the proposals – arguing that if it went ahead, the development would cause ‘irreparable damage’ to farming land and the strategic gap between Bosham.

More than 30 objections have already been made in response to the environmental impact assessment application – including Fishbourne Parish Council.

Writing on behalf of the council, Cllr Mike Lander said: “We totally reject the assertion that the development is ‘not likely to have a significant environmental impact’.”

Fiona Broad, of Caspian Close, was among the objectors.

“These fields are sympathetically farmed by local farmers and I believe we should be supporting British farming in such hard economic times, and not promote further development of brownfield sites such as these,” she said.

“The proposed site at Bethwines Farm has sweeping views of the National Nature Reserve of Kingley Vale, a prized local asset to humans and wildlife alike.”

Fishbourne Development Ltd said the site would cover 3.91 hectares of grade-two arable land on Blackboy Lane.

But the choice of site has riled villagers. The site has been purposefully excluded from the emerging neighbourhood plan because it is not considered ‘sustainable’ development.

It’s not the first time the site has been earmarked for development.

In 2008, an action group was formed to fight proposals for 200 new homes and residents crammed into a council committee room to express their all-out opposition to the development. It was eventually thrown out.

Speaking at the time, Cllr Pieter Montyn said: “What we are seeing is an inexorable push to turn Fishbourne into a dormitory town, with no school places, no shops, no work, and very infrequent public transport.