A BATTLE on two fronts threatens villagers facing a 300-home plan.
Westhampnett Parish Council urged its residents not to bury their heads in the sand at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday night and to write objections to both a planning appeal and new application on the Old Place Farm site.
“The one way we should approach this is a completely united front - everybody saying the same thing,” said chairman of the parish council Bill Harding.
Developer Commercial Estates Group has claimed Chichester District Council did not got into gear soon enough to decide its original application for Old Place Farm, submitted in 2014, and has appealed on the grounds of ‘non-determination’,
It has simultaneously submitted an almost-identical plan for the site, albeit with one amendment that has outraged residents.
Cllr Harding described as ‘sour grapes’ the submission of a document detailing a proposed sports pitch on the northern side of Madgwick Lane, along Old Place Lane.
The parish believes the developer is doing this as a way of creating an initial development on the land that could act as a ‘thin end of the wedge’ to allow house building.
“It seems to me you give in on this and the next thing you say that the flood plain is no longer a problem and all of a sudden you get houses popping up,” said Cllr Harding.
He said it was only after he and fellow parish councillor Jean Hardstaff spotted the new aspect of the design that they contacted the planners, leading to a consultation leaflet being delivered at the weekend.
“It was only after that happened that these things were issued,” added Cllr Harding.
Cllr Hardstaff said she had been approached by parishioners who were uneasy about the previously-unmentioned sports pitches.
“There’s great scepticism that the position of that is just the thin end of the wedge for future housing development, especially as the land was initially included in their application for housing land to the local plan,” she said.
To view the resubmitted planning application and comment, search for plan number 15/03524/OUTEIA at www.chichester.gov.uk
People can submit their views on the planning appeal by December 16 by sending three copies of their written representations to the Planning Inspectorate, FAO:- Helen Skinner Room 3/26, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN quoting reference number APP/L3815/W/15/3135299.
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