High housing figure for Fishbourne will put pressure on village services

ks190049-1 Bethwines Farm Protest  phot kate Fishbourne residents concerned about the possible development of Bethwines  Farm.ks190049-1 SUS-190129-190352008
ks190049-1 Bethwines Farm Protest phot kate Fishbourne residents concerned about the possible development of Bethwines Farm.ks190049-1 SUS-190129-190352008

Residents in Fishbourne fear housing targets for the village will mean building on a prized farmland site and a squeeze on infrastructure and community services.

Fishbourne parish has been allocated 250 new homes in the Local Plan Review, five times the allocation in the parish’s existing neighbourhood plan.

Since all suitable housebuilding sites in the parish can only account for 200 homes, the parish committee responsible for deciding where those homes go has said it will lead to building on Bethwines Farm, a much treasured agricultural space.

Writing to the Observer, the neighbourhood plan steering group said building on the farmland would ‘remove from the community their right to choose where building should take place’.

It said the ‘enforced breaking’ of parish council policy ‘would lead inevitably to the whole farm being used to provide 1,000 homes’, losing top quality productive farmland, valued views between the harbour and the South Downs and a wildlife habitat.

There are particular concerns the site will add to ‘rat-runs’ down the narrow Blackboy Lane.

The steering group disagreed with Fishbourne being defined as a ‘service village’ in the Local Plan Review as the village had ‘no shops, no banks, no doctor’ and ‘a halt’ instead of a railway station.

There are also worries the 1,000 homes allocated across Fishbourne, Chidham and Bosham will contribute to congestion on the A259 and Fishbourne roundabout.

The steering group is asking the district council to allow it time to carry out an independent assessment of traffic modelling for the area.

Fishbourne district councillor Adrian Moss said: “The school is full of local children, and some can’t even get into it, the bus services from the council are being reduced, not increased, the roads are in poor repair and weren’t designed to have additional housing.”

The Local Plan Review states community facilties, infrastructure and education spaces could be assessed in its Infrastructure Delivery Plan and updated as required.

Consultation is open until February 7.

READ MORE: What is Chichester’s Local Plan Review, what are the key issues in it and how do you comment on it?