Mum-of-two tells planners more homes are needed

A SINGLE mother-of-two spoke out at a planning meeting to tell the district council more affordable homes were needed in East Wittering.

Against the views of the parish council, which had objected against the 17-home development in Piggery Hall Lane, Gemma Curd, 34, had a different outlook.

“I have been on the housing list for eight years with two small children.

“How parish councils can see it’s not needed is totally wrong,” she said.

She also asked why people on the housing register in East Wittering were not able to bid on West Wittering houses.

Although they are different parishes, lower-need families in the parish will be offered homes before higher-need families in the next village.

This was a source of controversy last year when some band D families, the lowest-need group, were housed in a new West Wittering development at Northfield, before band A to C families in East Wittering and Bracklesham Bay were given the chance to bid.

Members of Chichester District Council’s area development management committee (south) decided to permit the application for 17 new homes in East Wittering, 15 of them being affordable homes.

This comes one week after plans for a 50-home development in Bracklesham were scrapped at the planning application referral committee.

The applicant, Wates Developments Ltd, has stated it will take the case to appeal.

East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council objected to both applications on the grounds that the parish has insufficient infrastructure to cope with a large influx of new homes.

Sam Irving, rural housing officer at the district council, said there were 209 families on the housing register in the East Wittering parish, 76 of them in bands A to C.

He also said the parish came fourth in the district for housing need.

Members of the committee agreed with officers and permitted the application, on the site of a former West Sussex County Council depot site.

Concerns were raised by councillors about dangerous roads surrounding the site, sewage issues, and access to schools.

But an agent for the developer, Austin Wade, promised to ensure the homes were given to families from the local area, and would continue to do so in the future when the homes were reallocated.

Although resident Geoff Breeze, who also sits on East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council, opposed the development, he said the 17 new homes were attractively designed, and the parish council did support social housing ‘in the right place’.

“The parish has its own infrastructure problems to deal with first, but once the structure is in place we would have no objections,” he said.