Concerns about new ‘factory’ within redevelopment of Chichester industrial estate

Concerns about redevelopment plans for a Chichester industrial estate have been expressed by neighbours.

Chichester District Council wants to knock down the existing buildings in the St James Industrial Estate off Westhampnett Road and create a range of new business unit types and sizes in their place.

However some neighbours are unhappy at what is proposed, especially the largest central ‘factory’ block.

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The council’s application is due to be discussed by members of the planning committee on Wednesday (November 4).

St James Industrial Estate. Chichester. Pic Steve Robards SR2002267 SUS-200226-200434001

Lynne Friel, chair of the Westhampnett and Church Road Residents’ Association, described how residents wanted to know the identity proposed tenant/manufacturer for the main building and the council had remained ‘resolutely tight-lipped’.

Opponents have questioned whether this is the right location within the city for a factory and exactly what type the council wants to put there.

They are also unhappy with the maximum height at 11.5 metres, the larger footprint, the ‘very basic design’ of the building, extra noise, fumes and smells as well as the potential for an increase in lorry movements.

Alan Mee, a Westhampnett Road resident, said one of the real problems with the application was they did not know enough about the nature of the factory the council wants to put there, with the only description being ‘light industrial’.

The estate was developed in the 1980s around the old 1950s council depot to provide accommodation for small and start-up businesses.

Brick-built premises were converted with more modern steel frame units. These have low energy performance ratings, poor wiring and in part awkward levels.

The layout would see a large block in the centre of the site, with four around the perimeter split up into multiple separate units.

The application says: “The new proposals aims to reprovide the uses within modern more sustainable premises in a more functional & formalised arrangement.”

Council planning officers are recommending approval subject to conditions.

Their report says: “The significant conditions required to make this development acceptable have been discussed in the relevant sections of this report.

“These include a construction management plan, piling method, site levels, drainage details, tree/hedgerow protection, materials, landscaping, boundary treatment, ecological protection and enhancements, sustainability measures, noise insulation and management, odour control, air quality, contamination, lighting, travel plan, fire safety, cycle storage, use restriction, waste storage, hours of construction, delivery and operation.”