Energy plan could provoke flooding in Chichester

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A suggested multi-million pound development to provide energy from commercial and industrial waste at a former Ministry of Defence petrol depot on the outskirts of Chichester could lead to worsening traffic and flooding problems in the area, a meeting in the city was warned.

West Sussex County Council’s south Chichester county local committee called for these issues to be thoroughly investigated before any final decisions are made.

The 4.8 hectare site, in Bognor Road, next to the A27, was a war-time Nazi bomb target because it was used to store petrol for nearby RAF Tangmere’s fighter planes, but the Luftwaffe failed to hit it.

The site is one of nine possible locations for waste development in West Sussex, and the only one in the Chichester area, identified in a draft waste local plan.

Informal consultation on the plan is due to end on July 27. The county council is working with the South Downs National Park Athority on the preparation of the waste local plan.

Results of the consultation will be used in the preparation of a ‘submission draft’ of the plan which will be considered by both authorities later this year.

Subject to their approval this draft will be put forward for formal public consultation in November and December before it is submitted for independent examination by a government-appointed inspector.

Cllr Margaret Whitehead told Tuesday night’s meeting of the committee she was concerned about the traffic implications, particularly with the proposed new Shopwyke Lakes housing development coming along in the area.

Cllr Louise Goldsmith said traffic was only going to get worse, and there should also be consideration of concerns about flooding in the area.

Cllr Pieter Montyn commented: “The flooding worries me - particularly at the moment.”

Mike Elkington, the county council’s strategic planning manager, said officers were continuing to explore the deliverability of the site with the landowner, who was no longer the Ministry of Defence.

However, even though the site might be allocated in the plan, it would be down to the commercial considerations of the waste industry whether it went forward - and whether the development was built.

It will be a decision for the industry whether it moves forward,” he stressed.

Earlier reports released by the county council said the site could potentially be used to provide energy from commercial and industrial waste, using a large shed which would need a chimney stack.

But there were no proposals to use it for municipal waste or incineration. The location could be used to deliver a single built facility, or a number of smaller ones.