Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour: ‘Once it has gone, it has gone for ever

Fishbourne Neighbourhood Plan Review Group has spoken of its concerns for the village and the wider Chichester Harbour area.

Members have congratulated the Observer on our Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour campaign, launched last month, and raised a number of points following a meeting at which our March 21 newspaper feature was discussed.

Residents say there is no need for growth in Fishbourne, as the village has expanded by more than 30 per cent since 2001

Residents say there is no need for growth in Fishbourne, as the village has expanded by more than 30 per cent since 2001

Campaign launch: Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour campaign launches

Chichester Harbour Trust viewpoint: Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour: ‘This is the time for the community to act’

Louise Goldsmith viewpoint: Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour: ‘We need to protect these important spaces for the next generation’

Chichester District Council viewpoint: Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour: Chichester District Council responds

Bethwines Farm was one of a small number of 'available' sites rejected by the Fishbourne Neighbourhood Plan' steering group, an open meeting and Fishbourne Parish Council as unsuitable for development

Bethwines Farm was one of a small number of 'available' sites rejected by the Fishbourne Neighbourhood Plan' steering group, an open meeting and Fishbourne Parish Council as unsuitable for development

Save our South-Coast viewpoint: Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour: Cross-party report of concerns ‘ignored’, says Save Our South-Coast group SOS-C

Chichester Harbour Conservancy viewpoint: Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour: Small corridor of land has vital significance

The group feels allocations for new buildings as part of the Chichester Local Plan Review were decided in a seemingly arbitrary way and feels sure all the harbour villages will share similar concerns.

In a statement issued by the group, members said there was an apparent lack of local knowledge and a stark contradiction between some of the policies and what the revised plan was actually proposing.

“We are particularly concerned about the potential building of homes on Bethwines Farm, which not only enjoys the best and most versatile category of farmland but also provides unbroken views to and from the harbour and to and from the South Downs National Park. There are no mediation measures – once it has gone, it has gone for ever.”

The delay in agreeing an improved scheme for the A27 is of particular concern to the group, as it says Fishbourne suffers the maximum impact of the cumulative extra traffic from all the building started or planned for villages to the west along the A259, as well as the 250 new houses which Fishbourne has been allocated.

“The group is also worried about the increased air pollution and its potentially fatal consequences and also the misleading data used to calculate the number of additional vehicles resulting from all the new building. Chichester District Council has used national average data, whereas the important data is that relating to actual local usage. We are looking further into this but the evidence so far suggests the local usage is at least three times the national average usage.

“As far as Fishbourne is concerned, despite the plan’s assertion that we need growth to revitalise the village, there is no need for growth. The village has expanded by over 30 per cent since 2001, the primary school is full and at peak times, traffic on the A259 stretches back from Fishbourne Roundabout right into the village and drivers on the A27 from Havant experience three-mile queues at the roundabout.

“The proposal for a link road from Birdham Road coming on to the Fishbourne Roundabout would actually worsen the traffic flow because traffic from Fishbourne, and Bosham and Chidham, would have another traffic stream to give way to before getting on to the roundabout.”