‘No’ to Nutbourne gypsy site proposal

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CONTROVERSIAL plans for a new development for gypsies at Nutbourne would be ‘hugely detrimental’ to the Chichester Harbour area of outstanding natural beauty, district councillors were warned.

Local residents and a representative of Southbourne Parish Council appeared at a meeting of the southern area development management committee to spell out their opposition to the scheme, and there was also a strong objection from Chichester Harbour Conservancy.

After hearing the objections, the committee voted 8-1 to refuse planning permission on the grounds the site was within the rural area, an area of outstanding natural beauty and a strategic gap, and because its scale and intensity would have an adverse impact on the character and amenity of the area.

Consent was being sought for two mobile homes, two gypsy caravan pitches and two utility day rooms on a site east of Nutbourne Park, in Main Road. Planning officers recommended approval.

Parish council vice-chairman Mark Everson said 99 letters objecting to the development had been submitted, expressing concern about the effect on the area.

Local resident Roy Seabrook, who lives immediately adjacent to the site, said the Environment Agency, gypsy guidelines and the harbour conservancy all insisted that for a new site like this, sewerage should be connected to the mains.

“The proposed six-person package treatment unit is too small for two large families and visitors, and will therefore be unreliable,” he warned.

“It disregards environmental guidelines in that it is too close to a site of special scientific interest, discharges into a dry ditch and is less than 30m from a mains sewer.”

He said the proposals showed a flagrant disregard for government guidelines.

“Travellers deserve sites with proper facilities in locations that will not trigger instant conflict with the settled community in the middle of which it is to be embedded,” he declared.

A submission by agents for applicant John Merriman claimed the buildings had been designed to minimise their visual impact but allow convenient access.

They also said it would be a significant improvement compared with the existing site and there was an unmet need for gypsy pitches.

But Cllr Rob Hayes successfully moved for permission to be refused saying it was not a viable site, particularly due to a serious issue with flooding.

“This is not suitable for living, whether a gypsy or a house resident,” he said.