West Chichester 1,600-home blueprint endorsed after split decision

A blueprint for a 1,600-home development was narrowly endorsed by councillors today despite significant concerns over its potential impact.
Just a small section of the land west of Chichester where 1,600 homes are proposedJust a small section of the land west of Chichester where 1,600 homes are proposed
Just a small section of the land west of Chichester where 1,600 homes are proposed

The development, which would be located immediately west of Chichester, is one of the major strategic housing locations planned for the city over the next 15 years.

Chichester District Council’s planning committee approved the masterplan for the development, setting out broad details such as the various phases of building.

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Numerous concerns included access, traffic management and sewage issues –but councillors were told the finer details would be dealt with at a later date.

Despite this, many councillors refused to endorse the plan, with the committee’s endorsement decided by the chairman’s casting vote.

Councillor Mark Dunn, who described the document as ‘lousy’, said: “I think the developers should be ashamed of themselves for suggesting this is an appropriate development outside what is one of the six most important historic cathedral cities in the country.

“Is this sufficient quality? I don’t think it is. I think we should send them away and tell them to think again.”

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The development – included in the council’s local plan – would be bounded by Centurion Way to the east, the railway line to the south and Old Broyle Road to the north.

In addition to the homes, it would include six hectares of employment space, a community centre, primary school and open spaces, including a ‘country park’.

It would be delivered in two phases, with the northern half first and the southern portion second.

A total of 72 objections were lodged by residents, with eight letters of support.

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Residents, along with bodies like Chichester City Council, argued no development should be permitted for phase one until a southern access route had been identified.

City councillor Sarah Sharp warned that without one, construction traffic would be forced down narrow streets, passing four schools.

Richard Childs, of the Chichester Society, argued this would ‘put at risk hundreds of children’.

West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith, councillor for Chichester West, said she accepted residential development would happen but the planned northern access would put ‘enormous’ pressure on Fishbourne and the Parklands area.

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But CDC head of planning services Andrew Frost said the masterplan’s purpose was to act as a general framework and did not address detailed matters raised by objectors.

Instead, outline and reserved matters planning applications, to be submitted at a later date, would tackle the main concerns.

Councillor Carol Purnell said: “I would not be happy to endorse that as a masterplan if the road was set in concrete at this stage. My understanding is all of that comes through with the outline and reserved matters application.”