VOTE: Park and ride site is to be built on

A new retail development looks set to come to Chichester on an area currently earmarked as a park-and-ride site.

The three-hectare site in Barnfield Drive is owned by Chichester District Council, and could provide a major new source of income for the authority.

It is now being proposed for retail warehousing and the district executive board agreed the use of the land for retail ‘out-of-centre’ development should be supported by the council as landowner.

It decided that, subject to agreement of terms, a joint venture development should be entered into with the Brookhouse Group Ltd to provide for the ‘immediate commencement’ of planning and marketing work for the project.

West Sussex County Council is being asked to support the de-allocation of the site for park-and-ride use.

The board also agreed that income should be sought through granting ground leases, providing for geared rental payments to the council supplemented by capital payments, where required, to ‘reflect market circumstances’.

A district council spokesman told the Observer there would be a considerable amount of parking provided as part of the developments proposed, but this would not be specifically for park-and-ride purposes.

“Both the district and county councils recognise a site outside of the A27 would be more attractive to park-and-ride users,” he added.

“It is now proposed the Barnfield park-and-ride site be added to the other land at Barnfield which has potential for use for retail warehousing.”

Brookhouse Group Ltd was last week given permission to create a service-only access route from Westhampnett Road.

This follows on from CDC’s decision last September to grant the company permission to use the current Homebase premises as a food store, even though a supermarket has not yet been found to run it.

The access scheme will involve constructing a new bridge over an existing culvert to the rear of the Homebase unit.

A separate application for alterations and extensions to the car park to create additional spaces has yet to be decided.

Concerns had been raised about congestion and the new access road’s location almost opposite an emergency access to Sainsbury’s, its proximity to two roundabouts and the entrance to Chichester Crematorium.

The committee heard the number of vehicle movements would be low, perhaps one or two in the peak hour, and seven to ten in a day.