Chichester District Council slammed over ‘enforcement debacle’

Clive Barrington and other residents protest about the distrcit council.  Picture by Louise Adams C131452-1
Clive Barrington and other residents protest about the distrcit council. Picture by Louise Adams C131452-1

RESIDENTS reacted angrily to news that no action will be taken by the district council after a builder ignored 25 conditions placed on a development in Birdham.

They slammed Chichester District Council after it elected the breaches by developer Bellway at the 28-home Longmeadow development ‘do not justify further action’.

At a meeting of the parish council on Monday, resident Clive Barrington said the enforcement team’s reaction to the breaches was ‘hopelessly inadequate’.

“They’re wriggling out of it like mad and it’s most unsatisfactory,” he said.

“These excuses are just unacceptable.”

The breaches range from departing from approved plans on drainage and site levels to damaging tree roots that were subject to a preservation order.

At a CDC planning committee meeting on Wednesday, October 16, members voted to approve the planning officers recommendation that it was not considered ‘expedient’ to take enforcement action.

Residents now said they feared the district council’s reluctance to act sent a massage to developers throughout the district that it was ‘open season’ to ignore building conditions.

“We can’t rely on any building control; enforcement officers don’t like getting out of bed,” said Mr Barrington at Monday’s meeting.

“I think it’s important the parish council expresses their concern.”

Parish council chairman Jane Finch described the situation as an ‘enforcement debacle’.

“We were very disappointed that the recommendation was carried,” she said.

The parish council is set to write to the district to make its feelings clear.

After the meeting, Mr Barrington said of the district council: “What we’re looking for out of this is to put them on notice that they need to do a better job in the future.

“It’s an example of total bad management of the planning people.”

The village’s district councillor Pieter Montyn is a member of the planning committee and brought the situation before the committee.

He said on Tuesday: “I felt it very important that residents of Birdham should have the option to hear the question of enforcement being discussed by members of the committee.

“I think that’s very important because I know we need to have as much confidence in our planning system as possible.”

Bellway did not send a representative to the meeting and said it did not wish to comment on the story.

A spokeswoman for the district council said: “We are satisfied that the development has been completed substantially in accordance with the planning permission granted and that the remaining deviations are minor and do not justify further action by the council.

“However, we will continue to monitor the situation and respond to any further residents’ concerns.”