Easebourne residents fear their voices 'will not make any difference' to housing development plan
‘Disillusioned’ residents have spoken out against plans for three development sites in Easebourne.
Metis Homes’ proposals for land at Cowdray Works Yard, land at Egmont Road and the former primary school, have all been allocated for development in the South Downs Local Plan.
Development partner Metis Homes said it planned to deliver a series of bespoke residential developments of up to 20 homes each and to make provision for an element of commercial development on the Cowdray Works Yard sites.
The Residents Action Group (RAG) in Easebourne said locals are not ‘up in arms’ but ‘are disillusioned’.
A RAG spokesperson said: “They feel their voices will not make any difference.
“While the number of houses seems reasonable, the impact of the current plans will have a significant effect on the village of Easebourne.”
RAG said the virtual public consultation process, just before lockdown was lifted, was ‘inappropriate to the demographic of many residents’.
A spokesperson added: “This led to only 30 responses in total where data showed that 75 per cent of respondents either ‘strongly opposed’ or ‘opposed’ or ‘remained neutral’ on the draft proposal for the former Primary School, Easebourne Street and for Egmont Road it was 73 per cent of respondents.”
In the planning documents, Metis Homes said it has carefully reviewed all of the feedback received, adding: “Where possible and appropriate the proposals have been amended to respond to this feedback.”
Pre-application consultations were also held with representatives of the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), the parish council and other local stakeholder groups. A letter advertising the virtual exhibition was distributed to all households within Easebourne and also in the neighbouring communities at Henley and the King Edward Estate inviting them to the exhibition." Read more hereRAG also argued that residents 'require larger impact studies' on the 'cumulative effect' of all proposed developments identified in the Local Plan .together with other nearby major
developments in Midhurst, Fernhurst and King Edward VII Estate.
There are fears that historical views, such as ‘The Race’ will be lost.
The action group spokesperson said: "Greenfield land on the most valuable site in Easebourne Street will be used and has been dismissed as ‘not significant’ .
"The fact is, it will change the view of ‘The Race’ forever and residents are left questioning why, if there are other brownfield sites within the park, is this one being sold off."
RAG added that designs 'do not enhance or protect' the conservation area, 'particularly the listed houses'.
"The Egmont Road proposal is a homogenised, terraced regularity of modern, urban like houses, incongruous to their surroundings.
"There is strong local support that the smallest footprint is reconsidered with a view to repositioning, which would alleviate many concerns.
"Although Egmont Road was identified in the Local Plan, residents would welcome a re-appraisal of the site next to Conifers Prep School, turning this into their playground and their current playground into housing.
"As one member of RAG said: ‘We are not opposed to development per se, just development that does not enhance our village'."