Westhampnett 500-home application soon to be submitted

The proposed Westhampnett development site.  Based on Ordnance Survey Mapping � Crown copyright. Media 063/13
The proposed Westhampnett development site. Based on Ordnance Survey Mapping � Crown copyright. Media 063/13

FEARS of a ‘Sussex version of Coronation Street’ materialising if plans for 500 homes go through have been raised.

Westhampnett Parish Council has issued a letter to villagers concerning the proposed Old Place Farm development — identified as a strategic development site in Chichester District Council’s local plan.

At a parish council meeting on Monday, Jean Hardstaff told her fellow councillors the council had been approached yet again by developer Commercial Estates Group, inviting them to comment on the latest proposals.

“We’re being press-ganged by the developers for Old Place Farm to meet with them and so far we’ve refused on the basis that we don’t agree with the development taking place on that land, so we think discussion at this point is not beneficial to anybody,” she said.

“If, as seems likely, land is included in the strategic plan, we shall do the best we can for the parish but at this point in time we’re resisting meeting with the developers.”

The proposed development would be built on land either side of Madgwick Lane.

Initial plans were for 1,500 homes, but this was reduced to 500 after the parish council made a number of comments to the district council about the inability of the infrastructure around Westhampnett to cope.

After viewing initial plans months ago, the parish council said it indicated ‘the proposals were completely detrimental to the area and residents of Westhampnett’.

According to the letter, the latest proposals indicated a ‘complete disregard’ for Westhampnett’s autonomy as a village.

It said the plans created a ‘Sussex version of Coronation Street’ with ‘bad examples of pastiche vernacular dwellings’.

“The vastly important question of failing infrastructure was swept aside as being a matter of detail that would be addressed later,” the letter added.

A spokesman for the developer said: “We’ve always tried to be open and transparent about what we want to achieve and bring Westhampnett residents and Westhampnett Parish Council with us.

“We’ve made the decision to press ahead with a planning application.

“We’ve invited Westhampnett Parish Council and residents to the exhibition at the end of the month. We’re doing everything we possibly can to communicate effectively and we’ve attempted to work collaboratively with Westhampnett Parish Council and we’re very disappointed that they’re taking this stance.”