VOTE: Do you think residents’ views will influence the local plan?

C101633-7 Chi Aerials _ Photo Louise Adams''Chichester
C101633-7 Chi Aerials _ Photo Louise Adams''Chichester

PLANS to build thousands of homes in the Chichester district over the next 16 years are already sparking debate.

Consultation on the draft plan officially launches tomorrow, but readers and parish councils have already been having their say.

Meeting on Thursday night, Tangmere Parish Council said it was time to draw a ‘line in the sand’ for development proposals.

With the possibility of 1,000 new homes in the village by 2029, and an upgrading of the water treatment works, the parish council is set to challenge the local plan.

However, Andrew Irwin, chairman of the parish council, expressed doubts about how much sway the public consultation would have over the district council’s final plan.

“I think decisions have already been made and I think the consultation process will be a sham,” he said.

Speaking of the opposition the district council has faced, he said: “I believe Chichester District Council’s plan has been very clever in that it’s diluted that strength of feeling.

“The Manhood Peninsula are going to sit back and say: ‘We’ve got what we wanted’.

“They’re going to say: ‘300 houses is a good deal’.

“They have diluted our strength of support from the other parishes down to us now.”

The parish council has issued a mission statement raising six main points which it plans to challenge:

* The number of houses for Tangmere – the parish council said it does not take into account the economic downturn, nor the 2011 census results

* The proposal to upgrade Tangmere Water Works – the parish council calls it a ‘short-sighted and unsustainable solution’, which fails to account for the impact of greater flows into the Aldingbourne Rife

* The definition of the village as a ‘settlement hub’

* The notion major housing is sustainable east of the city – the parish council says it would put ‘unacceptable pressure’ on the A27

* The suggestion employment opportunities in Tangmere can be developed sufficiently to cope with new residents

* The council also rejects the proposal for a strategic housing site west of the village

As reported in last week’s Observer, the plan includes a housing target of 6,973 by 2029 – equivalent to 395 homes a year – not including areas in the national park.

This includes four ‘large strategic allocations’ – 500 homes at Shopwyke, 1,000 homes on the Whitehouse Farm site with potential for a further 600 in the future, 500 homes at Westhampnett, and 1,000 homes at Tangmere.

There are also three smaller strategic sites – Southbourne, Selsey and East Wittering/Bracklesham. Housing on the Manhood Peninsula has been reduced because of concerns over transport links, flooding and a lack of local employment.

However, there are several large applications pending which are due to be decided before the local plan comes into force.

The plan also includes sites which already have planning permission, ‘windfall’ sites and parish housing sites.

Richard Hill, chairman of the Chichester south committee of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said the housing numbers are ‘far too high’.

“Our draft new local plan needs to confirm the abolition of the south east plan, and the housing figures dependent on it,” he said.


Do you think residents’ views will influence the local plan? Have your say in the voting panel on the right, and leave your comments below.