‘Tempting carrot’ refused at Chichester planning meeting

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A ‘WASTEFUL’ development plan was approved by councillors, after they chose to listen to residents over council officers.

Crayfern Homes submitted plans for five houses on a brownfield site in Donnington, working with local residents in the area.

But Chichester District Council officers accused developers of setting the housing numbers at a level where no infrastructure contributions had to be made.

If a developer wants to build six homes or more, it is required to provide affordable housing.

But the five-home plan, was ‘purposefully set at a density where it would not have to make such contributions’, according to planning officers, who said it was ‘wasteful’.

But Crayfern Homes had worked with Donnington residents, to see what kind of development was wanted in the area – and this was the result.

David Harris, a planning consultant who spoke of behalf of 17 residents in Donnington, said overdeveloping sites was ‘a tempting carrot for cash-strapped councils’.

He said the council should not reject the plans for financial reasons.

And Quentin Cox, sitting on the planning committee, said the development would make a change from ‘the rabbit warrens we see elsewhere’.

Another committee member, Pieter Montyn, said the developers’ work with the residents was ‘admirable’, and to refuse the plans would fuel ‘cynicism’ for residents,

Matthew Utting, an agent for the developer, said residents might feel ‘disenfranchised by the planning process’ if the council was to turn the plans down.

But one council officer said: “We feel this proposal does not make the best use of the land.”

John Ridd, who sits on the planning committee and is the ward member for Donnington, said: “This five-dwelling development is very strongly supported locally by residents. The fact they support this application speaks volumes 
for it.”

He said 150 new homes were being built or were in the pipeline for the parish, many of which 
were affordable, and there was no need for more than five on The Nurseries site.

“I find it quite refreshing they are considering development,” said committee member Julie Tassell. “If this is what they want and they say it is best for the site, I am in favour of promoting it.”

The site, at present, is home to derelict outbuildings, glasshouses, and a small detached bungalow.

The plan is for a cul-de-sac layout, comprised of five three-bedroom detached chalet bungalows, with access from Bywater Way and pedestrian access from Queens Avenue.

The plans were approved, with 16 councillors voting for the scheme, and two against it.