'˜Flood plain' listed for new houses at Lynchmere

An intense debate preceeded a decision to include a potential flood plain in the list of sites allocated for development by Chichester District Council.

Despite objections from 47 residents to the allocation of land at the back of Sturt Avenue in Lynchmere, the site was allocated for ten homes, subject to planning permission.

District councillors voted to allow the site in the plan, provided there was no objection from the Environment Agency once flood modelling was complete.

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Questions from the public had highlighted residents’ concerns to the council, including photographic and anecdotal evidence submitted in a public consultation that the site was in a flood zone.

Chairman of Lynchmere Parish Council Sylvia McCallum also said there were known issues with traffic access.

But statutory bodies such as Highways England and the Environment Agency (EA) have yet to make any concrete objection to the allocation.

Councillor Phillipa Harwick said she was disappointed residents’ evidence was given such little weight: “The community feel they have not been listened to.

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“What are consultations for if the stock response to all contrary views is that ‘well the statutory consultees have not raised that point’?

“At what point does a mass of real supported direct evidence on highways matters, access matters, flooding matters, do they gain traction against notoriously reticent and succinct consultees?”

But Cllr Myles Cullen said he found it ‘worrying’ the council should doubt the very statutory consultees on which the whole site allocation document was based.

Council leader Tony Dignum stressed the site would be rejected if found to be unsuitable by the EA.

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He said: “Our local plan covers a 17-year period and covers provision for 17,000 houses. The idea that we’re worried about ten houses is rubbish.”

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