Daffodil field is safe as Lavant homes dismissed

'Save The Gap' campaigners outside the district council at November's appeal. Picture by Kate Shemilt
'Save The Gap' campaigners outside the district council at November's appeal. Picture by Kate Shemilt

REJOICING villagers will continue to keep their identity after a planning inspector kicked an appeal into touch.

The ‘daffodil field’ between Lavant and Chichester on the A286 will not be concreted over and turned into 92 homes. Residents of Lavant and Summersdale said the scheme would obliterate the strategic gap between the two settlements.

Commenting on the decision, campaigner Marion McQuaide said it was ‘absolutely wonderful news’.

“People between Lavant and Chichester are very friendly but Lavant doesn’t want to become a suburb of Chichester,” she said. “It’s a very ancient village in its own right. It has a very strong community. It was in danger.”

She said a number of people joined the combined efforts of RAGE2 (Residents Against Greenfield Encroachment) and the Lavant and Summersdale residents to combat the ‘dreadful’ scheme.

She said several appeals in recent times had been granted in the Chichester area and it was feared the daffodil field could go the same way. “It coalesces the villages into the Chichester urban area,” she added of the already approved sites.

She also praised RAGE2 chairman Mike Hall and secretary Pam Priscott for their tireless hours of work.

Mr Hall said it was a ‘great result’ for localism.

“The real thanks should go to the whole team for their time and commitment,” he said. “Sincere thanks to all of the residents of Lavant and Summersdale for their support throughout the campaign.”

District councillor for Lavant Andrew Smith had long been opposed to the Taylor Wimpey scheme, since it was first refused by the planning committee.

Cllr Smith, who is now the chairman of Chichester District Council’s planning committee, said officers were ‘quietly confident’ their original decision would be upheld by planning inspector David Cullingford.

“I think the argument against the development was very well put by officers and residents,” he said.

He also praised the vocal representation of Lavant resident Geoffrey Claridge at the appeal in November, which was mentioned by Mr Cullingford in his report.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen an appeal decision where an individual’s been singled out,” he said.

Mr Cullingford ruled the lack of a five-year housing supply in Chichester was outweighed by the damage the development might cause.

“It shows the absence of a five-year housing support is not the be-all-and-end-all,” added Cllr Smith. “There are other considerations to be put but I thought that Taylor Wimpey’s evidence was pretty weak at times.”