Green light for new homes in Birdham

THIRTY new homes will be built in Birdham following a successful planning appeal.

The development by Rydon Homes Ltd will go ahead on land at Tawny Nursery, in Bell Lane, following an appeal.

The homes were refused planning permission last year by Chichester District Council.

The council’s main problems with the site were:

- The effect on the character and appearance of Birdham

- The effect on highway safety having regard to access to services and facilities

- Whether there were harmful consequences from subdivision of the site

- The effect on the tourism sector and its role in the district’s economy

- Adverse impacts that would significantly and demonstrably outweigh any benefits of the scheme when assessed against the national planning policy framework as a whole.

Planning inspector Christine Thorby paid particular attention in her report to the district council’s inability to demonstrate a five-year housing supply.

Residents had also been concerned about the potential impact of flooding on the site.

She said: “I appreciate the local concern about flooding in the area, which has been severe in past from surface water run-off and the worry that the appeal scheme will make things worse.

“However, through the imposition of conditions and by way of legal agreement the appeal scheme makes provision for dealing with surface water entering and leaving the site which would ensure that there would be no greater effect on the surrounding area than exists already.

“It is not for the appeal scheme to remedy existing schemes already in the village, even on adjoining land and, as there would be no adverse effect, the appeal would not fail in this matter.

“Similarly, foul water drainage would be effectively disposed of, secured by condition and there would be no adverse effect from the proposal in this regard.”

She also dismissed the village’s neighbourhood plan, saying it was at an early stage of preparation and could not carry any weight as local policy at the present time.

She concluded the scheme would bring some ‘minor harm’ to the character of the area and it would conflict with tourist sites.

However she ruled all of this was outweighed by the Chichester District Council’s lack of a five-year housing supply.