Rolls-Royce expansion in Chichester is approved

Plans to expand the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars plant in Westhampnett have been approved by Chichester District Council.
Plans for changes at Rolls Royce, Stane Street. Image: Rolls RoycePlans for changes at Rolls Royce, Stane Street. Image: Rolls Royce
Plans for changes at Rolls Royce, Stane Street. Image: Rolls Royce

The hybrid application was given the nod during a meeting of the planning committee on Wednesday (March 27), having been deferred for further information earlier in the month.

There were two parts to the plans.

The first part – a full application – sought permission to erect five buildings on the site for manufacturing and ancillary use, a 550-space car park, a new access onto Roman Road, and the diversion of a public footpath.

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The second part – an outline application – was for a four-storey multi-storey car park for 1,700 cars and for assembly buildings to be erected on part of the existing Stane Street car park.

A handful of changes and clarifications were made to the previous application.

These included details about the way traffic would enter and leave the site.

All shift workers approaching from the east would enter via the new access point while those approaching from the west would enter via the existing Stane Street access.

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Signage would be put in place to ensure that all HGVs would enter from the east via the new access and leave to the west via the existing access.

Councillors were told that this would mean there would be no increase in the traffic going through neighbouring Maudlin and would reduce the number of HGVs going through Westhampnett.

To compensate for the loss of a mature oak which will be felled as it would affect visibility from the new entrance, another oak will be planted on the site where it will be visible from the diverted public footpath.

Clarification was also given that a contribution of £183,540 would be paid towards providing sustainable transport, as laid out in the Chichester City Local Cycling & WalkingInfrastructure Plan.

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Rolls-Royce has been on the site for 20 years and it has been identified for expansion within the new Local Plan.

But the meeting heard concerns from residents about the impact of traffic noise late at night during shift changes.

It was a concern shared by a number of councillors and is something Rolls-Royce's newly recruited community liaison officer will no doubt hear about.

Karen Rollings, the council's economic development officer, described the economic impact of a Rolls-Royce expansion as 'massive'.

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She said: "This new development will ensure the future of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood.

"It's so important for this district – it's one of the largest employers in the district, it's one of the largest employers in West Sussex – it benefits so many other businesses in the area.

"I couldn't even tell you the impact but it runs into millions of pounds a year just for businesses in the area, let alone Rolls-Royce.

"The expansion will ensure additional employment, not just at Rolls-Royce but at other businesses in the area – local businesses that have built up from two people who are now employing 30-plus because they have a contract with Rolls-Royce."

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Andrew Ball, Head of Corporate Relations at Rolls-Royce, has been involved in the project since its inception. He said: “We're pleased at the outcome of today’s decision, which secures the future of the company. We'd like to thank the many local residents who took the time and trouble to attend our information events, respond to the planning application and provide useful suggestions and feedback. We're absolutely committed to working with our neighbours and making a positive, long-term contribution to the place we're proud to call home."

To view the application, log on to publicaccess. and search for 23/01855/FULEIA.