COUNCILLORS ‘on the horns of a dilemma’ have tried to stump a 110-home build on appeal by ‘tactically’ removing their objection to a 50-home plan.
East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council met last Thursday and praised the district council’s decision to reject an application for 110 homes south of Clappers Lane.
They said they were disappointed councillors had been ‘threatened’ by their chairman and officers who said the refusal would not hold-up on appeal.
Chairwoman Sylvia Main said she was pleased the parish’s evolving neighbourhood plan had been taken into consideration by the district councillors as they noted the plan included sustainable sites for development and the 110-home plan was not in one of those – a contributing factor to the refusal.
Parish councillors then discussed what response they wanted to give to an amended plan for 50 homes west of Clappers Lane.
Cllr Main asked whether they would be contradicting themselves by continuing to object to it as this was one of the sites they chose as a suitable site for development in their neighbourhood plan.
She said they ‘could be on the horns of a dilemma’ as there were several evolving applications and if the inspector allowed the 110 on appeal and the application for 50 was permitted, they could suddenly have an extra 240 homes on the horizon.
But she posed the question – if the 50-homes plan was permitted, would the inspector be more likely to reject the 110-home plan appeal due to over-development.
“It is a gamble, but it is highlighted in our neighbourhood plan as a site suitable for housing.
“We must decide whether we withdraw our objection and support this 50 dwellings in the hope the 110 are refused on appeal.”
She added that the district councillors would remember this site was included in the neighbourhood plan as preferential for development.
Cllr Geoff Breeze said: “It’s probably a risk worth taking because we will have ammunition at the inspector.”
But Councillor Steve Warner disagreed and proposed they kept their objection because although it was a preferential site, it was too many houses for the site.
Graeme Barrett, district councillor for East Wittering and Bracklesham, advised that it could be seen as contradictory for them to object to an application within one of their preferential sites, especially as they used this as a reason to object to the 110 homes.
Cllr Breeze agreed and proposed they remove their objection. He said: “We will just have to hope they take the 110 into account.”
Councillors voted for Cllr Warner and Cllr Breeze’s proposals and the vote was tied. Cllr Main used her deciding vote to withdraw the objection.