A well-attended exhibition of plans for housing at Whitehouse Farm yesterday brought home the reality of what 1,600 homes and community facilties could look like west of Chichester.
The exhibition was for a fraction of the site, detailing a reserved matters application for 160 homes and sports facilities to be built by Linden and Miller Homes.
Planning for development at Whitehouse Farm has been progressing for several years, with the first phase of 750 homes agreed in principle by councillors in 2016, along with a new school, health and community centre and sports pitches.
A second phase of 850 homes is included in Chichester District Council’s plans for future housing in its Local Plan Review although no application has yet been made.
At the exhibition on Thursday, many of the issues raised by residents related to the site as a whole; traffic mitigation, the loss of a rural gap and whether the new homes would be accessible in price to first-time buyers.
Gideon Sherwood, who lives on the East Broyle Estate, said he was concerned about the lack of road safety measures planned in the wider area, given the volume of new cars from the develoment.
He said: “My children will be going to school at Bishop Luffa from September so this is something I’m very concerned about, it’s already a nightmare getting out of the estate and there’s a lack of mitigation from the county council.”
He said traffic lights or a roundabout were needed as a junction on Sherbourne Road.
Amy Hovil, 51, who also lives close to the site, said it was helpful to see the plans but had some reservations.
She said: “The sports pavilion doesn’t have a club room or a social space, it’s just changing rooms.
“I think it’s a shame that it’s not a more imaginative development with solar panels or other renewable energy sources.”
Robin Pearmain, senior planning manager at Linden Homes, was on hand to answer questions from the public and said he thought the plans had been ‘relatively well received’ and it was helpful to hear the community’s views.
He said: “People have commented about things like the southern acess but obviously, that’s not part of these applications.
“Overall people are quite please to see the plans, to see it’s traditional housing and appropriate parking and visitor parking, that’s kind of been the general feel really.
“It’s been good to get people updated on timescales for the site and to give people a general update about how things are progressing.”
He clarified that as developers, Linden and Miller Homes had a legal agreement with the county council to contribute towards highways works in the surrounding area but precisely what was done was ‘out of our control’, even if there was a desire to go ‘above and beyond’.
Residents are still able to respond to the consultation online.
The full consultation documentation and response form will be available at https://westofchichester.consultationonline.co.uk
More stories about the long history of the project below: