200 homes allowed on appeal for village on A259 west of Chichester

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Shock and disappointment have greeted a planning inspector’s decision to allow up to 200 homes to be built in Nutbourne.

The two applications from Pallant Homes Ltd were refused by Chichester District Council in October 2021 but the decisions have been overturned following an appeal.

This means the plans for 132 homes on land east of Broad Road, and 68 homes on neighbouring land west of Drift Lane can go ahead.

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A spokesman said the council was ‘disappointed’ by the decision, while members of the Mayday! Action Group, who have been vocal in their opposition to the plans, said they were ‘shocked’.

The sites for a total of 200 homes in Nutbourne. Image: GoogleMapsThe sites for a total of 200 homes in Nutbourne. Image: GoogleMaps
The sites for a total of 200 homes in Nutbourne. Image: GoogleMaps

The council’s lack of an up-to-date Local Plan played a large part in the decision of planning inspector Christina Downes, whose report was published on August 29.

Ms Downes said: “Whilst the emerging [Local] Plan is progressing, it is still at a relatively early stage in the adoption process, which is anticipated to be mid-2024.”

She added that the emerging Local Plan, which is being prepared for submission to the Planning Inspectorate, could ‘only be given very limited weight’ when it came to her decision.

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The inspector recognised that the developments would have a ‘significant adverse impact’ on the landscape but, in her judgement, felt this was not enough to outweigh the benefits of the new housing.

A spokesman for the Action Group lamented the loss of the greenfield agricultural land which would disappear in favour of the new homes, pointing out that another development of 118 homes further up Broad Road has also been approved.

Raising concerns about the impact on local services and infrastructure, he added: “Schools, doctors’ surgeries and dentists are already full and traffic volumes will only increase because local train and bus services are simply inadequate for working people.

“Little consideration is given to protect wildlife transiting between the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of Chichester Harbour and the South Downs National Park. Wildlife corridors trampled upon.

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“Yes, 30 per cent of the proposed new homes will be a mix of affordable/social rent homes but data held by [the council] suggests that actual demand within our small parish is not that great.”

A council spokesman said that work on the emerging Local Plan was moving ‘at pace’ but the document was unlikely to be submitted for consideration until the autumn ‘due to the complexity of the issues raised’ by people who took part in a consultation.

They added: “We would like to assure residents across the district that we are working extremely hard to progress the revised Local Plan.

“Our officers have been collating, analysing, and reviewing the 2,400 comments that we received as part of the public consultation earlier this year, as well as making sure that they are correctly recorded and placed alongside the relevant policy.

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“This is a complex and very involved process which takes time.

“We have to go through each individual response and ensure that any issues are addressed, as well as carry out further background work.

“Our officers are continuing to work through the issues raised, including meeting with the relevant bodies to seek any clarifications that may be required.”

Such clarifications include working with National Highways and the county council to refine proposed measures to mitigate the impact of development on the highway network.