In recent years Chichester has been fortunate in having two substantial development sites on ‘brownfield’ land – Graylingwell Hospital and Roussillon Barracks.
About 1,000 homes are being built to relieve the pressure to develop ‘greenfield’ land outside the city.
Both sites are beginning to show the beneficial results of thoughtful development plans that have taken into account the assets left by earlier building – a landscape with over 900 mature trees at Graylingwell and historic relics from two centuries of military occupation at the barracks.
Both were also good examples of co-operation between planners, architects, developers and the local community from the earliest planning stages.
The Chichester Society hopes that such co-operation will continue to be the accepted practice where development is necessary. The society’s executive committee was therefore disturbed to see a planning application, (12/04521/FUL on the council’s website) for 12 houses and six flats on land that is no longer needed by the Ministry of Defence at Otway Road.
There are good reasons to develop this land, which used to be tennis courts and a children’s playground for families living in the barracks, but the quality of the developer’s proposals falls far short of those now being realised in what is now Roussillon Park.
They show ‘run of the mill’ houses of little architectural quality.
The site plan does not create any significant spaces within the site and it does not make best use of the existing trees, which could have enhanced public areas but are instead enclosed in private gardens.
The district council’s original brief for north-east Chichester stressed the importance of providing an attractive entrance to the city from Lavant and strong tree planting is needed on the western edge of this site to achieve this.
There is no safe and convenient access for people to walk to the shop on the Broadway; nor is there any attractive link to Roussillon Park.
As a result the proposed development will not connect smoothly with Roussillon Park and Summersdale.
The Chichester Society has lodged a formal objection to this application and it hopes that the developer will think again so that the opportunity to enhance the urban environment of this part of Chichester is not lost.
The Chichester Society