Barnham, Westergate and Woodgate housing plans approved

Arun District Council’s planning committee approved several applications at a meeting yesterday (July 28).

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:58 pm

New Westergate dwelling

One new three bed home was approved next to Byfields in Nyton Road, Westergate but opened up a debate on how bat surveys should be carried out.

Council officers told the meeting that a previous application (AL/49/20) was refused last year and an older application was also turned down due to highways and access issues.

Illustrative view of new dwelling next to Byfields in Nyton Road, Westergate

West Sussex County Council as the highways authority had no objections to the new plans but Aldingbourne Parish Council said the development would not be ‘satisfactory’ when compared to the character and appearance of the area.

The parish council added: “The development fails to demonstrate a net biodiversity gain as it does not take into account the biodiversity corridor for bats in the Singleton and Cocking tunnels.”

Officers said they are continuing to seek further information on bats from the applicant and that permission would not be granted if this is not submitted within 14 days.

The applicant’s own ecologist suggested that no bat survey was required but officers made this a condition for planning permission.

Location plan for two new homes next to L’Apache, Westergate Street, Woodgate

Isabel Thurston (Green, Barnham) said: “I’m not happy that the applicant has used their own consultant to say there isn’t a bat survey needed.

“The whole of Aldingbourne falls within a very important bat corridor coming out of the Singleton and Cocking tunnels.

“I happen to know that there are nine species of bats that have been seen here. This bat survey is absolutely crucial and needs to be done by an independent surveyor- independent of the applicant and of us.”

But Richard Bower (Con, East Preston) claimed that bat surveys were too costly for applicants. He said: “Every time an applicant is required to produce one of these bat surveys it costs them £5,000, which is an enormous amount of money.

Block plan for three new homes planned to be built off Chantry Mead

“I’m not suggesting that bat surveys are not necessary but because these come up so regularly there should be a single bat survey to which all applicants might turn.”

David Edwards (Con, Felpham East) said it was ‘strange’ to consider an application ‘that does not have all the relevant information’ especially with regards to removing trees.

Officers told the committee that applications can not be held up while consultation responses are pending.

Plans to increase size of Woodgate homes

An application to increase the size of two proposed dwellings in Woodgate was approved by Arun District Council’s Planning Committee.

Permission was previously granted for two dwellings on the site at L’Apache, Westergate Street, but the applicant wants to make them larger than previously agreed.

The two dwellings will now be detached rather than semi-detached and both will have four bedrooms instead of three. Two more parking spaces will be added to accommodate the larger size.

Aldingbourne Parish Council objected to the plans citing ‘overdevelopment’ and ‘proximity to the biodiversity corridor’.

Isabel Thurston (Green, Barnham) said: “I think it is regrettable that people who have got permission for a perfectly acceptable design have to try and go bigger. I think these are too big for the plot – they do look squashed in. I’m worried about yet more cars on that road.”

Hugh Coster (Independent, Aldwick East) expressed concerns over access, saying: “I have a reputation for going out and measuring access roads. It looks to me that it’s rather less than standard width.

“I do deprecate the fact of allowing further building and squashing extra buildings on narrow access roads like this. There are going to be approaches up and down by people on foot going to shops, people with pushchairs and vehicles squashing backwards and forwards.”

However, West Sussex County Council as the highways authority did not consider the plans to have an ‘unacceptable impact’ on safety and deemed the number of parking spaces to be adequate.

Three new Barnham homes

Three homes on the edge of Barnham were also approved by Arun District Council’s planning committee.

Previous plans for four dwellings on the site at Chantry Mead, to the rear of properties in Downview Road, were rejected but council officers said that overlooking had been taken into consideration and the new plans were now considered acceptable.

The plans received more than 25 letters of objection including one from Barnham and Eastergate Parish Council, which expressed concerns over flood risks.

One Chantry Mead resident said: “I, like others, purchased in Chantry Mead three years ago for quiet enjoyment in my retirement. We are to be beset on one side by the new A29 extension and some 4- 500 houses in close proximity and up to 4,000 locally thus ruining our views and now on the other side by this current proposal for unwarranted infilling and garden grabbing.

“Owners in Chantry Mead would have their existing privacy destroyed. The proposed access road is cited directly in front of one owner’s lounge window and headlines at night will shine directly in.”

The applicant’s agent said the development would be within the existing property boundary in an already residential area and would contribute to housing stock. They noted that windows on the first floor of plot three would be removed to respect the privacy of other residents.

Isabel Thurston (Green, Barnham) said she sympathised with Chantry Mead residents.

She said: “They are about to have a large new road built very close to the rear of their properties and these will be slap bang in front of their properties.

“They are going to be suffering from overbearing impacts they never would have foreseen when they moved here.”

But John Charles (Con, Barnham) said the plans were ‘much better than the original’ and he could not see ‘any reason whatsoever’ to reject them.

ADC’s planning committee approved the revised plans for the site.