Tangmere councillors criticise housing consultation

Parish councillors from Tangmere have said the consultation into housing sites across the district has been deeply flawed and that it should be repeated – properly.

Parish councillors delivered boxes containing 200 completed questionnaires to the offices of Chichester District Council, in East Pallant.

The council decided to print off copies of the questions for residents because they felt more people would take part if they could respond on paper, rather than CDC’s preferred online option.

“Generally it was felt that it is a deeply flawed document and felt that it’s unwieldy,” said Cllr Phil Thomas.

“Filling it in online is a nightmare – it wasn’t set up to be accessible and it is especially complicated for the average person,” added Cllr Brian Wood.

“It’s a 57-page document, I think most residents found it overwhelming and intimidating,” said Cllr Thomas.

“The timing was not particularly good; it started in the holiday period a day before a bank holiday.

“People had a small window of opportunity to fulfil a requirement by the CDC.”

The councillors said the housing issue was of utmost importance to residents, particularly as Tangmere is listed in four of the five options for housing on prime greenfield land.

Around 1,100 questionnaires were distributed and Cllr Brian Wood said a good response had been received.

Tangmere ward district councillor Simon Oakley said: “It is very good there is so much public interest in this very significant matter and that the proposals for all of the strategic sites need very careful study.”

Cllr Roger Birkett said the questionnaire itself was too narrow and that it led people in one direction only.

On the issue of housing, Cllr Wood said the parish did not agree with Chichester city councillor Michael Woolley’s comments that Tangmere was plentiful in brownfield sites.

“We don’t have any; they are all used up,” added Cllr Thomas.

“We are full to capacity with brownfield useage.”