Westbourne villagers fight for green field ‘oasis’

Westbourne'''Picture by Louise Adams C131514-1 Chi Westbourne ENGSUS00120130611154158
Westbourne'''Picture by Louise Adams C131514-1 Chi Westbourne ENGSUS00120130611154158

A FIELD ‘saved for future generations’ has once again been earmarked for the development of 16 new homes.

More than 60 Westbourne residents have objected to plans to build on land north of Copse Lane.

Previous plans to build 22 homes on the same land were thrown out after a three-day inquiry last year, with the planning inspector arguing the proposal would result in ‘considerable harm to the character and appearance of the village’.

“I was quite shocked to see a new application from the same developer for this site,” said Westbourne resident Paul Hawkins,

“Following the dismissal of the appeal, it was my understanding the field was saved ‘for future generations’.”

Sussex Police and Chichester Harbour Conservancy have both been consulted on the plans, which were submitted to the district council by developers Southcott Homes.

A spokesman from the conservancy said: “We would seek the securing of appropriate mitigation to address the likely increase in recreational disturbance.”

Residents have also voiced concerns about flooding in the village.

“The streets in the area around this field are often flooded and more housing will raise the water table even further,” said Thomas Webber, of River Street.

Joan Graham, clerk to Westbourne Parish Council, described Westbourne as an ‘oasis in an encroaching urban sprawl’.

She said the number of objections to the application ‘reveals the utter desperation and concern’ of 
many parishioners.

“It demonstrates the feeling for a necessity to fight to the bitter end, in order to maintain the unique and highly-prized character of Westbourne village before it is finally too late and gone forever.”

More than 150 new homes have been built in Westbourne in the past decade,

Resident Nigel Peake said the strategic gap between West Sussex and Hampshire had ‘almost disappeared’.

Chichester District Council planning officers have recommended the plans for approval.

The application will be determined by the planning committee on August 20.