Three new housing estates ‘would totally dominate’ Chidham and Hambrook

Three housing estates would ‘totally dominate’ Chidham and Hambrook, parish councillors have warned.

Thursday, 28th January 2021, 4:06 pm

In the last few weeks developers have lodged separate outline applications for 94 homes west of Pottery Lane, another for 132 homes east of Broad Road and a third for 68 homes west of Drift Lane.

If all three are approved they would total 294 homes and more than double the size of Nutbourne East.

In response to the huge public concern a virtual meeting, hosted by Chidham and Hambrook Parish Council, was held last night (Tuesday January 26).

Map of Nutbourne East showing the Pottery Lane, Broad Road and Drift Lane development sites proposed

Attendees were told that while work on the parish’s neighbourhood plan was underway, it could not be finalised until Chichester District Council’s local plan is completed and this process has been delayed.

Philip MacDougall, chairman of the parish council, suggested CDC had been ‘slow off the mark’ to get the review of its local plan going. He said: “If they had moved a little bit faster we might not be in this position.”

In the meantime CDC has published an interim position statement on housing, which intends to guide development until the new local plan is adopted.

However developers have responded to the situation by lodging planning applications for a number of sites across the district, including those in Chidham and Hambrook.

Lib Dem district councillor Adrian Moss put delays down to the need to gather more evidence from organisations such as Highways England and Southern Water.

He said: “The local plan has got to be right and it can’t be produced without the evidence.”

He pointed out how the only people who could pause the process and give them ‘breathing room’ was the government.

Andrew Kerry-Bedell, a member of the neighbourhood plan steering group, gave some reasons to object to the three applications.

In particular he highlighted how the Drift Lane site ran right through one of four wildlife corridors, was outside the settlement boundary, while Drift Lane itself was too narrow with no through road or turning for large vehicles.

Meanwhile homes at Pottery Lane would risk coalescence with Southbourne, would be in a landscape settlement gap and would not be net nitrate neutral.

On the third application at Broad Road the access was described as ‘dangerous’, the site could not be delivered within five years, was too big for Nutbourne East and risked even more development further to the east.

Cllr MacDougall added: “These would totally dominate the village and put huge pressure on the A259.”

Other concerns raised during the meeting including capacity at the Thornham wastewater treatment works as well as the impact on roads, infrastructure and services.

Views from Chichester Harbour to the South Downs National Park would also be affected.

Reacting to any suggestion that development could lead to a new school, medical centre or pharmacy, Cllr MacDougall described these as ‘false promises’, adding: “Basically these things are not going to happen.”

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CDC decisions are also awaited on 118 homes at Scant Road West and 19 homes at Chas Wood Nurseries. A third for 35 homes south of Hambrook Holiday Park has gone to appeal.