Parish council calls for halt in development as East Wittering and Bracklesham ‘besieged’

The chairman of East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council has written to the Secretary of State for Housing Robert Jenrick to ask for a halt in development as the parish is being ‘besieged’ by new homes.

Bracklesham (Credit: Google Street View) SUS-210416-134143001

The letter asking for a moratorium on all significant new developments, comes as Chichester District Council the local planning authority, has no Local Plan in place. This makes it easier for developers to appeal and win approval for plans the local authority has found inappropriate.

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Brian Reeves, the parish council chairman, says in his letter to Mr Jenrick: “I am writing to you to alert you to the considerable difficulties currently being experienced by East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council due to combined threats of the lack of an up-to-date Local Plan and underlying weaknesses in the existing NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) to ensure that adequate infrastructure is in place to support new development.”

Aerial shot of East Wittering & Bracklesham (Credit: Google Earth) SUS-210416-133858001

He explains that the failure of the Chichester District Local Plan in July 2020 means the area cannot demonstrate a five-year housing supply which has created ‘an extremely favourable position for developers, keen to take advantage of the situation and bring forward speculative and unsuitable development sites’.

He adds that the parish is ‘by no means against development’, and within the plan period actually delivered sites and permissions for more than 320 properties – but added: “East Wittering and Bracklesham are currently besieged by a number of major developers with options for up to 1,650 houses on sites in or adjacent to the parish.

“We currently have three active planning applications in the area, which could grant permissions within the next few months for up to 250 houses. These will be scattered across a number of sites, all artificially subdivided into smaller land units than their acknowledged final development capacity, leaving us vulnerable to piecemeal development that minimises developer contributions... to improve community infrastructure and delivering the community the worst of all worlds.”

The letter adds that infrastructure in the area ‘has not been upgraded to support the 320 properties already delivered’, and cites significant concerns around sewage capacity and the traffic network.

Mr Reeves said: “As we have already highlighted, our community is by no means against sustainable development, but we have reached a point where due to the lack of an up-to-date local plan, we risk unchecked and inappropriate development in the community, leading to significant adverse impacts for our residents and our environment.

“We would like to request a moratorium on all significant new developments south of the A27 on the Manhood Peninsula until Chichester District Council have completed their Local Plan Review and addressed the many significant issues around infrastructure and traffic. Local communities can then use the neighbourhood planning process to positively plan for sustainable new housing allocations in a way that enhances rather than damages the life of the community.”