Plans for 27 new Birdham homes set for approval

A SCHEME to demolish two bungalows and replace them with 27 new homes is set to be debated next week after objections from residents and the parish council.

The bid for homes on Rowan Nursery, off Bell Lane, Birdham, will be discussed at a meeting of the area development management committee (south) meeting tomorrow (May 29).

Officers have recommended the scheme is permitted, but Birdham Parish Council has raised a string of concerns, listing more than 18 points in its response.

“The arguments on transport on the Manhood in general, and on the A286 and its feeder roads in particular, have been rehearsed frequently in recent years,” said the parish council.

“The transport assessment is, as usual, based on what we regard as flawed methodology in that it is too close-focused on Bell Lane rather than the cumulative effect of other developments in the area.

“Bell Lane carries traffic not only from Birdham but from Bracklesham and East Wittering.”

The council said a recent survey showed two-way movements of 7,393 vehicles a day on Bell Lane.

It added it dismissed the argument that daily traffic movements would be ‘imperceptible to existing road users’ as it took ‘no account of the cumulative strain on the road structure of the area’.

Birdham said it had ‘no confirmation’ additional sewage could be treated at Sidlesham Waste Water Treatment Works, describing the existing system as ‘less than satisfactory’.

Concerns were also raised about flooding.

“A poorly-maintained ditch network, designed for agriculture and two or three dwellings can no longer cope with the strains put upon it by development, which are likely to get worse in summer and winter because of climate change.”

Another area of concern was the nature of the economy on the peninsula. “Many of the jobs are seasonal and have led people to question the need for housing development of a permanent nature in an area where there is no extra employment,” said Birdham Parish Council.

The council also criticised plans for a new recreational space, accessed by a new footpath, describing it as ‘misconceived’.

Earnley Parish Council objected on several counts including the site’s proximity to homes which flooded in June last year and the threat to Somerly Conservation Area.

However, officers are recommending the plan is approved.

“Whilst the objections of parish councils and third parties are noted, there can be no expectation of a general moratorium on housing developments in the south part of Chichester district given the paramount importance of the council addressing its five-year housing land supply,” said a report set to be considered by councillors.

The committee will meet at 10am tomorrow, at East Pallant House, Chichester.