Development will kill local parish

As chairman of Westhampnett Parish Council, I would like to thank you for the publicity you are giving to the local plan.

Westhampnett is a small parish lying just east of Chichester, its southern boundary being the A27, western boundary the River Lavant, northern boundary just south of Goodwood Racecourse and it is bounded on its eastern side by Boxgrove and Tangmere. Half of the parish lies within the South Downs National Park and the population has doubled in the past 12 years through new development.

Now the planning authority are suggesting 500+ houses are built within our parish.

All the houses in this proposed development would be visible from the Trundle as an urban sprawl running as a ribbon from Chichester. This would mean houses being built either side of Madgwick Lane (the road from Chichester Park Hotel to Goodwood Airfield), one of the main gateways to the National Park.

If this development was to take place the use of the airfield would be put at risk because of the objections to the activities from people living in the new development. This would mean the Revival meeting held at the airfield every September would probably finish and the local community would lose £12m per annum which this event pumps into the local economy.

In addition, all employment on the airfield would be lost together with all other local income generated by the various activities going on at the airfield. This might well affect the viability of the Goodwood Estate.

The proposed development would undoubtedly destroy Westhampnett parish as a rural community by linking the parish to Chichester.

One other problem this development will create is increased traffic on the A27. We are told a traffic study is being carried out and the results will be published within weeks. Probably not before May 3, the date by which all the representations concerning the draft local plan must be made. This traffic survey might well show the majority of traffic starting at Chichester entering the A27 runs in westerly direction, ie towards Portsmouth and Southampton. This would further exacerbate the existing bad conditions on the A27 and create greater problems on the roads in Chichester between the Sainsbury’s roundabout and the hospital. In addition of course there are the problems of waste water drainage, increased risk of flooding in Chichester, lack of schooling, no improvements to the infrastructure etc etc.

In addition to what I have said above, the parish believes the planning authority have got it totally wrong. The facts are these:

1 Chichester District Council (CDC) is one of the largest district councils in England

2 Chichester is one of the smallest cities/county towns in England

3 The proposals put forward by the authority would increase the population of Chichester by about 30 per cent in 14 years

4 This increase in population at annual rate of two per cent would be the fastest increase in population since the Romans arrived

5 The total number of houses proposed is the same as proposed before the South Downs National Park (SDNP) was formed. The SDNP extends to about three-quarters of the land area of CDC. The SDNP Authority has yet to formulate their proposals regarding planning. This means that most of the allocation of houses for CDC are planned to be built outside the SDNP ie Chichester and the adjacent area.

6 The proposals are developer-led without proper town planning considerations/ local consultations and proposals to address existing and future infrastructure problems, eg schools, road and all forms of drainage. This is totally against the government intention that local communities should be consulted and they would not necessarily be unreasonable.

Why not build houses where they are wanted? Spread the allocation of houses around the towns, villages and settlements within the district – there is not a village within the district whether in or out of the SDNP which could not accept somewhere between six and 20 houses over the 14-year period, with towns and large villages taking more.

It has to be accepted more homes must be built within SDNP otherwise the communities will die.

There is so much more I would like to say, having lived in this parish for 44 years, but space does not allow. If someone thinks our parish has a good case then support us by writing to CDC with your thoughts before May 3 and support us at an open parish meeting at the March CE Primary School, Claypit Lane, Westhampnett, on Monday, April 15, at 7pm.

Mr NH Adams


Westhampnett Parish Council