Westbourne villagers braced for further homes battle

Previous building opposition 'C140914-1
Previous building opposition 'C140914-1

THE FOURTH and fifth battles in an ongoing planning battle are on the horizon for villagers.

A field off Long Copse Lane, in Westbourne, is the site of three previous failed attempts by developer Southcott Homes to build a housing development of 22 homes – later reduced to 16.

Its first application for 22 homes was rejected firstly by Chichester District Council and again at appeal.

The council has then rejected a 16-home plan for the site from the same developer.

An appeal for the 16 homes will be heard by a planning inspector on Tuesday, at East Pallant House, in Chichester.

However, residents claim the developer has ‘jumped the gun’ by already submitting an application for nine homes on the very same field.

“The people of Westbourne are so passionate about this one site,” said Jesse Grant, 72, of Long Copse Lane.

“By the time we’ve gone to appeal it will have been going on for three years.”

He said during this time 600 objections had been made to the various plans for the site, which he described as a ‘massive amount for a small community’.

People were outraged, he said, at the developers’ attempts to build on the field, despite residents’ protests that it would make flooding problems on the nearby road even worse.

“People are incensed and we feel it’s a terrific waste of money and time,” said Mr Grant, adding: “How many times can they go?

“It’s like they’re having each-way bets.”

He emphasised the villagers were not NIMBYs and knew development was needed.

He said the emerging neighbourhood plan identified several sites in the area for potential new homes, however Mr Grant believes the initial findings from the survey of residents concluded people did not want to see any homes on the Long Copse Lane field.

“The neighbourhood plan won’t be ready until Christmas or January,” said Mr Grant.

“We think the builders are jumping the gun. It’s a little bit premature.”

The planning appeal for the 16-home plan takes place from Tuesday morning.

The nine-home application is available to view at www.chichester.gov.uk by searching application 15/02199/FUL