Bid for 50 homes in Selsey granted at appeal

Just some of the Selsey residents who turned up to an appeal hearing to object against 50 new homes in the town
Just some of the Selsey residents who turned up to an appeal hearing to object against 50 new homes in the town

A LONG fight against housing plans ended this week with disappointment for campaigners.

Planning inspector Richard Hollox has granted planning permission for 50 homes on the Park Farm site, in Chichester Road, Selsey.

The permission comes despite strong objections from councillors, residents and the Campaigners Against Over Development In Selsey (CAODIS).

“I realise that my decision will come as a disappointment to the many people who have objected to the proposal at both the planing application and the appeal stage,” said Mr Hollox.

“They include those who represent the Campaign Against Over-Development in Selsey who should be congratulated on the depth of their research and the skill, courtesy and commitment with which they conducted their case at the inquiry.”

Chichester District Council originally vetoed the plans in March, 2012, saying the site was on grade one agricultural land and within the Selsey-Pagham strategic gap.

An appeal was due to be heard at County Hall in December but was deferred after around 120 residents stormed the hearing.

At the inquiry, objectors said the development would ‘dramatically impact’ the entrance to the town. CAODIS chairman Richard Bramall said it was ‘the thin end of the wedge’, describing the cumulative affect of Park Farm and a Pye Homes bid for 100 homes next to the appeal site, as ‘a recipe for disaster’.

However, Mr Hollox overturned almost all of the council’s reasons for objection.

He said there was a ‘significant shortfall’ of housing land in the district and the council had been ‘slow to deal’ with outdated policy.

As with many applications on the Manhood Peninsula, concerns had been raised about a lack of infrastructure and the impact on the already over-stretched B2145.

However, Mr Hollox said there were a ‘range of local employment’ opportunities and a ‘real choice’ in travel options from bus services.

“Few sites are ideal in matters of sustainability,” he said. “The appeal site does however, benefit from good access to services and amenities.”

Pointing to the fact West Sussex County Council, as the highways authority, had failed to object to the scheme he said the B2145 was ‘not so hazardous’ that additional traffic would result in ‘serious inconvenience and/or danger’.

The ruling is a blow to campaigners who have frequently pointed to congestion as a reason to limit peninsula development.