Fresh action to unblock Birdham affordable housing development

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Plans to use a Compulsory Purchase Order to kick-start a stalled affordable housing scheme have been agreed by Chichester District Council.

Permission for the 15 homes off Crooked Lane, in Birdham, was given in 2013 but things ground to a halt when developer Hyde Group could not secure the rights to use an unregistered access track leading to the site.

Other access routes were explored but non were possible.

Ten years on and the use of the CPO was given the nod during a meeting of the full council on Tuesday (March 21).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Proposed access to the siteProposed access to the site
Proposed access to the site

Some members of the public have questioned whether the new homes were needed – but that decision was not up for debate.

Councillors simply had to decide whether or not to make use of their Compulsory Purchase powers and started to bring the whole saga to a close.

There has been a lot of push-back over the years from people opposed to the CPO.

Among them was David Williams, of the Birdham Village Residents’ Association.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mr Williams accused Hyde of buying the land in the full knowledge that it did not include access.

He said: “The amount of time and money spent on this project has got to make a mockery of any cost normally associated with delivering social housing.”

Alan Sutton, cabinet member for housing, said: “Please be assured that the council does not take decisions to recommend or authorise a Compulsory Purchase Order lightly.

“Decisions are made within very clearly defined legislation and the council is required to give full consideration of this and not look beyond it.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

One of the major concerns raised in the past has been that the access track joins Crooked Lane opposite the entrance to Birdham Primary School.

Reacting to safety fears, the council agreed with an amendment from Liberal Democrat leader Adrian Moss that West Sussex County Council be asked to implement a School Streets project outside the school.

This would restrict traffic at pick-up and drop-off times, essentially turning that part of the street into a pedestrian and cycle only zone.

The Compulsory Purchase Order will be put to the Secretary of State for confirmation.

If all is in order, the track will become a public highway and will be transferred to Hyde.