South Downs Holiday Village site: Bracklesham housing decision is delayed again

An illustrative layout of plans for 85 homes on the former South Downs Holiday Village site
An illustrative layout of plans for 85 homes on the former South Downs Holiday Village site

A decision on new homes at the former South Downs Holiday Village site in Bracklesham has been delayed again.

The tourist destination closed in January 2017 and since then has been used as temporary accommodation to house agricultural workers.

Site owner Seaward Properties wants permission to clear the site and build 85 new homes.

However its outline application was deferred by Chichester District Council’s planning committee today (Wednesday November 14).

Councillors raised concerns about the density of the scheme at 40 dwellings per hectare, and the illustrative layout showing driveways fronting on to Clappers Lane and a lack of screening for properties nearest Bracklesham Lane.

Brian Reeves, from East Wittering and Bracklesham Parish Council, said they were no longer objecting as the site had been extensively marketed for a tourism use and housing on a brownfield site was preferred to greenfield development.

However he did highlight the cumulative impact new developments in the area were having across the peninsula.

He said: “Infrastructure improvements have been zero ladies and gentlemen. Absolutely zero.”

Sandy Simpson, from Earnley Parish Council, said they were concerned about the frontages on to Clappers Lane and parking in the road, as well as the effect of extra traffic and the overall density of the scheme.

Jonathan Greenberg, associate planner at PRP speaking for Seaward, described how the holiday village site was now obsolete and they had to look at alternative uses for the site.

Keith Martin (Con, East Wittering) said: “We all know how important the tourist industry is to the Manhood Peninsula and the district generally. We need to make sure that we are doing the right thing before we permit the loss of a well located tourism site.”

He also raised concerns about the site’s density, the ‘cramped layout’ and infrastructure in the area.

West Wittering independent Graeme Barrett called the application premature as he felt the policy requirements for marketing had not been met.

He pointed out how hundreds of jobs had been lost in the area over the last few years.

The illustrative layout showing three-storey buildings on the south-west corner of the site was raised by Simon Oakley (Con, Tangmere).

Officers explained that there had been some interest in the site but none of this had resulted in any offers.

National operator PGL had looked at an activity centre for school children but had rejected the site as being too small.

Three regional holiday park operators had also been in touch but had not progressed their interest due to the size of the site and the amount of capital investment needed.

Officers also described how infrastructure improvements would happen even if progress ‘might appear slow’.

After a lengthy discussion, members agreed to defer the application for negotiations with the developer on the illustrative layout.

If the outline application is approved, a reserved matters application has to be submitted which sets out the detailed layout and design of the new homes.

The application was deferred by the planning committee back in September after concerns were raised about access arrangements.