VOTE: Should housing developments at Lavant be restricted to prevent it becoming a ‘suburb’ of Chichester?

Campaigners say there is ‘no justification’ for building houses on one of the city’s gateways.

Residents and community leaders say land at Hunters Rest on Lavant Road is vital to the identity of Lavant as a village and prevents it from becoming a suburb of Chichester.

Seaward homes wants to build 20 homes there, but people living in the area say it would represent a ‘significant incursion’ into the strategic gap between Chichester and Lavant.

Lavant Parish Council said the proposals were based on ‘opportunist arguments of housing need’ and this need could be met by the many sites in the Chichester area which had already been put forward for housing.

“The requirement for CDC to demonstrate five years’ supply of deliverable housing sites should not lead to the precipitate release of land within a strategic gap,” it said.

In addition, the council said the plans were an over-development of the site and out of keeping with the area.

Chichester District councillor Mike Hall, who represents the north Chichester ward, said the outline plans were an over-development of the site and out of keeping with the Summersdale area. He also said there were issues with the sewage treatment works which already had limited capacity, especially during periods of high ground-water levels.

“There are more than 2,000 homes with planning or outline permission,” he said. “There are no firm plans or budgets in place to upgrade either the A27, local road networks or the Lavant and Apuldram sewage treatment works, therefore I believe there is no justification to further complicate the situation by adding even more sites for development.”

The Chichester Society said the site was outside the settlement policy area and that changes to this should be made as part of the new planning blueprint, the Local Development Framework Core Strategy which is being put together by Chichester District Council.

Residents and other organisations have also expressed concerns about the impact the development would have on traffic. In particular they have highlighted a potential risk posed by traffic from the development entering a road where traffic is slowing down from a 60mph speed limit to 40mph.

Chairman of Summersdale Residents’ Association, Jeremy Hunt said: “Future housing sites will be identified in the forthcoming core strategy document and we should wait for the implementation of that policy before we prematurely develop new green field sites, especially in prominent locations such as gateways to the city.”