Chichester District Council rejects plans for three housing estates in Chidham and Hambrook

Plans for three housing estates in Chidham and Hambrook have been rejected after 700 objections were lodged by concerned residents.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 2:34 pm

Developers submitted separate outline applications for 94 homes west of Pottery Lane, another for 132 homes east of Broad Road and a third for 68 homes west of Drift Lane.

They would have totalled 294 homes and more than double the size of Nutbourne East. The plans have now been rejected due to environmental and sewage concerns.

Chidham Parish and local residents submitted 700 objections across all three sites, aided by campaigning groups Save Our Harbour Villages (SOHV) and the Chidham and Hambrook Parish action Group (CHPAG).

Campaigners argued that Chidham and Hambrook fields were 'under threat'. Photo: Save Our Harbour Villages and MPAG.

Parish councillors had previously warned that the housing would 'totally dominate’ Chidham and Hambrook.

Andrew Kerry-Bedell, from SOHV said: “We never needed what was proposed.

"All local parishes want new housing for local people, but it has to be far more affordable, far better built and designed, carbon neutral, and in places that suit the local environment. This refusal just shows what people power can do, and what happens when residents simply say enough is enough.”

In its decision notice, Chichester District Council said the proposed development would 'lead to the loss of an open area of countryside'.

Nutbourne East Wildlife Corridor next to Drift Lane saved from housing development. Photo: Save Our Harbour Villages and MPAG.

It added that the replacement of this open area of countryside with housing development and its associated infrastructure, lighting and engineered vehicular access off Main Road would lead to a 'harmful urbanisation' of the local rural environment and the setting of the Chichester Harbour AONB.

The local planning authority said it 'acted positively and proactively' in determining this application by identifying matters of concern with the proposal.

A spokesperson added: "However, the issues are so fundamental that it has not been possible to negotiate a satisfactory way forward and, due to the harm which has been clearly identified within the reason(s) for the refusal, approval has not been possible.”

Among the other reasons for refusal were the 'merging of settlements' and 'poor access'.

The council decided that the housing would also conflict with local and neighbourhood plan policies.

As the sites would have been over two wildlife corridors, there were fears over habitat damage and lighting in dark skies areas having an effect on rare bats.

It was also confirmed that there was no remaining sewage capacity at Thornham treatment works, with a limit of just 360 houses equivalent capacity left.

Parish councillor Jane Towers said: “We are delighted Chichester District Council has refused these three planning applications and chosen to protect our villages of Chidham, East Nutbourne and Hambrook from urbanisation.

"This development would have led to a loss of countryside, the coalescence between us and Southbourne and an adverse impact on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of Chichester Harbour.

"It also gives protection to the wildlife corridors connecting the South Downs to the AONB, and ensures the continuing safe passage of numerous rare species. Common sense has prevailed.”

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Three new housing estates ‘would totally dominate’ Chidham and Hambrook

Local councillor Adrian Moss, Lib Dems, said he will continue to work with local residents to 'safeguard their communities and preserve the environment'.

He added: "Building housing on the edge of the harbour in villages with minimal facilities is unrealistic and cannot be supported.

"We of course want to see housing for local people and specially affordable housing for our younger residents but this needs to be in sustainable locations.

"Harbour Villages are under constant attack from greedy developers.

"The time has come for the council and councillors to stop this.

"Increasingly we have the powers with the emerging Local Plan and a more positive approach from Southern Water and the Environment Agency."