Recipe for disaster

I think I echo the views of many living on the Manhood Peninsula when I say that the district council’s current interim development policy, Facilitating Appropriate Development (FAD), is a recipe for disaster, the effects of which will ultimately impact everyone in the district.

The loopholes in the policy, which has been in existence for just over a year now, are clear to see when you look at the spate of speculative and opportunistic applications for large-scale development the district council is currently experiencing.

We are in the middle of the deepest financial crisis since the war and we are told every day how builders are not building and banks are not lending, yet the volume and scale of planning applications in the district does not correlate with this view.

This disconnect can only suggest either Chichester is in a financial bubble or the interim policy is so loose, that opportunistic developers are chancing their luck and putting in highly speculative applications which would be rejected out of hand at any other time.

There are currently almost 500 ‘units’ under appeal, application, consultation or permitted on the peninsula.

Recent target figures published by the district council suggest we need to build up to 1,500 extra houses on the peninsula by 2029.

With one third of the target already under consideration before the local plan is even in draft, can we really expect CDC not to revise these numbers up given they have 17 years to deliver the two-thirds balance?

Whether they do or not, the cumulative effect on traffic, sewage, health and education of the 500 already proposed will be massive and will be further compounded all the time the FAD is in existence.

I am told the FAD policy is being tightened up and will require developers to actually deliver the housing, not simply increase the value of their land bank; but does CDC really believe that this will happen?

Do they truly believe permission granted under an interim policy will not be renewed on appeal in the future when the permission has expired and the developer decides to commence construction?

The final insult of this flimsy, ill-conceived planning policy will be the cost.

The district council has just received notice of an appeal against a refusal for 50 units in Selsey, which it will have to contest – a legal battle that will have to be funded by taxes from all of the district residents.

The first of many I suspect.

I am not anti-development, in fact I actively support the need for new housing and understand that we, like any other area, have to take our share.

However, any development must be appropriate and despite national policy telling councils to consider each application in splendid isolation, the Manhood Peninsula must enjoy special dispensation and CDC should understand the very specific issues which affect us.

Ben Cooper

Hunnisett Close