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

An aerial view of Kingley Vale. Picture: Angus Peel, ProAction Creative
An aerial view of Kingley Vale. Picture: Angus Peel, ProAction Creative

Many people from across the district have shown support for the Observer’s new Don’t Destroy Chichester Harbour campaign.

Individual residents and various groups have spoken out and we will be highlighting their views in the coming weeks.

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

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 gave an extensive response to the Local Plan and this week we are highlighting the aspect with most significant impact.

Richard Craven, Harbour Master and Chichester Harbour Conservancy director explains the importance of the corridor of land that lies between the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the South Downs National Park.

He said: “With Chichester Harbour AONB and SDNP, we are blessed with two landscapes of national importance. While they are rightly protected from over development, the small corridor of farmland, dotted with trees and hedgerows, that separates them is not, despite being an integral part of the special landscape. The intervisibility between the two is vital to both; together they are more than the sum of their parts.

“The ancient yew trees at Kingley Vale overlook this corridor and on to the saltmarsh and waters of Chichester Harbour, rich habitats of international importance for wildlife and of significant scale. The view has been described by the creator of England’s first National Nature Reserve at Kingley Vale as the finest in England. It is vital that a sense of this integrated landscape is maintained.

“The Chichester Harbour AONB and SDNP both have responsibility for conserving wildlife, something the UK has widely neglected. Between 1970 and 2013, 56 per cent of species were in decline and 15 per cent threatened with extinction.

“One of the pressing issues is fragmentation of habitats and an arc of houses separating the two designated landscapes would be hugely damaging and preclude possible routes to reverse wildlife decline here. The proposals for wildlife corridors hold some potential for mitigating these concerns but lack ambition to make a real difference.

“The planning authority have an unenviable task to accommodate significant extra housing in such a constrained district, particularly when you add in the issues of hydrology and transport. We trust that they will give these nationally important issues, and the setting of the AONB, their due weight.”