Inquiry told of residents’ fears for peninsula

DOZENS of Selsey stalwarts scrutinised all three days of a planning inquiry over plans to build 50 homes at the ‘entrance’ to the holiday hotspot.

Proposals for the homes Park Farm, off Park Lane were thrown out by Chichester District Council last year, after residents raised concerns over sustainability, landscape, services and access.

But the developer appealed in the hope of overturning that decision.

Richard Bramall, chairman of Campaigners Against Over Development In Selsey, questioned the future intentions of the appellant, Landlink estates.

“This is the first phase of a larger development given the current application is only part of the land.

“The development would be in the strategic gap. The application represents the thin end of a very dangerous wedge.

“We are not NIMBYs, absolutely not. We understand the need for more housing.”

Residents were assured the application was not connected to proposals by Pye Homes for 85 to 100 new homes in Drift Road.

Speaking as a witness at the inquiry, district councillor Carol Purnell argued the development would ‘dramatically affect’ the entrance to Selsey. She said the town was one of the ‘most deprived areas’ in the Chichester district and did not have adequate facilities, such as an NHS dentist, to support a new housing development.

David Hares, witness for Landlink estates, said: “There is the potential for the development to enhance the entrance to Selsey.

“The skyline in the short term will be dominated by buildings, but tree planting will soften the skyline in the medium term.

“A butterfly can flap its wings in one place, and a tornado can happen elsewhere. It is all down to the significance of those effects. There is always a presumption that change is negative.”

Residents were also concerned about the impact future development would have on the main route into Selsey, which was referred to as the ‘busiest road in Britain’.

Speaking on the second day of the inquiry, Selsey resident Professor Harold Baum said the B2145 was inadequte and often overloaded.

“Even a minor collision can, and frequently does totally cut Selsey off to all traffic.”

However, Gerald Ford, a witness for the appellant, said the B2145 operated below its capacity and traffic ‘can be accommodated by the network’.

Richard Hall from Sidlesham Traffic Action Group, said he ‘rejects the proposals until the B2145 is improved’.

Ian Ellis, witness for Chichester District Council, said the proposals appeared to be ‘intrusive’ and an ‘ad-hoc addition extending beyond the boundaries of the town’.

Chichester District Council acknowledged there was a lack of housing in the area. Witness Ian Ellis said this was not a ‘magic wand’ for approving the proposals.

The appeal will be decided by planning inspector Richard Hollox, who also conducted a site visit assisted by local residents.