Plans for 40 Southbourne homes approved

Plans to build 40 homes in Southbourne have been cautiously approved by Chichester District Council.
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The outline application for the former Four Acre Nursery, in Cooks Lane, was given the nod during a meeting of the planning committee on Wednesday (December 6).

But the decision was not reached easily.

At the first time of asking, the application was voted down by six votes to five.

Cooks Lane, Southbourne. Image: PNH Properties GroupCooks Lane, Southbourne. Image: PNH Properties Group
Cooks Lane, Southbourne. Image: PNH Properties Group
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Members had raised concerns about flooding, particularly in the south-west corner of the site where the access would be, and the narrowness of Cooks Lane.

The applicant, PNH Properties Group, pledged to raise the road surface accessing the site by 300mm above the existing ground level to reduce the risk of flooding.

On top of that, no objections were raised by the West Sussex highways team about the road itself.

But the issue of a ‘green ring’ around the site was not one which would go away.

Cooks Lane, Southbourne. Image: PNH Properties GroupCooks Lane, Southbourne. Image: PNH Properties Group
Cooks Lane, Southbourne. Image: PNH Properties Group
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Roy Briscoe (Con, Westbourne) warned his fellow committee members that refusing the application would probably lead to an appeal which the council would lose as it did not have a five-year supply of housing land.

He suggested that the plans be approved, with a condition added to increase the size of the green ring.

Mr Briscoe’s proposal was agreed by ten votes to one.

The meeting heard plenty of opposition to the plans.

John Cross (Lib Dem, Fittleworth) said Cooks Lane was ‘not fit for purpose’, adding that it would be ‘an absolute disaster’ once the new homes were built.

Jonathan Brown (Lib Dem, Chichester North) described the application as ‘piecemeal planning and very poorly done’.

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Lyn Hicks, of the Southbourne Neighbourhood Plan steering group, pointed out that a similar plan had been refused in 2021 for just that reason as it ‘would not be in the interest of proper planning’.

Ms Hicks added that allowing the latest application ‘compromised the master-planning of future development in Southbourne’.

The development will have a new access off Cooks Lane and 12 of the homes will be classed as affordable.

To view the application, log on to publicaccess.chichester.gov.uk and search for 22/01903/OUT.