Category Archives: Planning

Commit to Southern Access Road for Whitehouse Farm development

There are sound and clear cut reasons for refusing planning permission in the absence of any commitment to provide the Southern Access Road prior to the development of the site‘ so state The Chichester Society and the East Broyle, Parklands, Westgate and Orchard Street/Old Somerstown Residents Associations  in a joint submission to the Local Council.

They further state ‘ In the absence of any commitment to the provision of the Southern Access to the Via Ravenna roundabout and not to Westgate to be in place before construction of the houses in Phase 1 the application 14/04301 should be refused’. 

You can read the full submission here

How should we build? A Point of View by Roger Scruton

In this BBC Radio 4 point of view broadcast on 10 June Roger Scruton addresses how we should prioritise beauty when building the countryside – Beauty in my back yard (BIMBY) not NIMBY. To listen to it click here.

BIMBY arises from the Prince’s Foundation and comprises a Toolkit with a series of workshops that guides a community through creating a BIMBY Housing Manual for their own area.

The toolkit has 3 workshops to help a community decide what it wants as a community. The outcome of the toolkit is a series of standards for developers to follow in the form of a Housing Manual. There is also guidance on how to get the Manual adopted as  part of the formal planning process.

Whitehouse Farm development application – Society’s initial objections

Applications: CC/14/04301/OUT also see here 

Proposals: Outline planning application with all matters reserved (except for access) for the first phase of development for up to 750 homes with access from Old Broyle Road, temporary access from Clay Lane, a local centre (with associated employment, retail and community uses), primary school, informal and formal open space (including a Country Park), playing pitches, associated landscaping, utilities and drainage infrastructure with on site foul sewage package treatment plant or pumping station with connection to Tangmere Waste Water Treatment Works.

Society response: A very short period of time was given for a response  to be made to the Planning Application CC/14/04301/OUT. In our initial response (click here) Chairman Richard Childs objects to the failure adequately to consult and considers that this Masterplan must be revised to create a southern access route from the start of Phase 1 so that construction traffic can be directed from Cathedral Way roundabout direct to the new development. A more formal response is being prepared.

Meanwhile – The Council invite observations on the above application by 7 June 2016. To view the application click on the application number above.

Objections to the proposed Waste Water Treatment Works at Whitehouse Farm

Albion Water are planning a waste water treatment plant for developers Linden Homes and Miller Homes at Whitehouse Farm, Chichester, West Sussex.  The Environmental Agency has consulted on the environmental permit application ref EPR/SB3338AD/A001 and the Chichester Society has,  through its Chairman,  raised several objections as detailed in a letter than can be consulted here.

A-Boards update – a blight or a boon to the city centre?

Crane St end A boardsThe Society in Jan 2014 counted over 200 A-boards within the city centre. In the right circumstances a few A-Boards can have a positive benefit in attracting custom to smaller and often independent shops. But 200+ is too many!

However, their use is deprecated by the Chichester District Council – see their guidance on ‘Shop Front and Advertisement Design’ here.  Alternative  business signage to A-Boards is being developed by the Chichester Business Improvement District (BID)

Local Plan – The Final Chapter

Chichester’s Draft Local Plan

Following protracted hearings during the autumn of 2014, dissecting and reviewing the District Council’s draft Local Plan, Sue Turner, the Planning Inspector for the Examination in Public (EiP), delivered her report which is available on the CDC website.

She has approved CDC’s Plan on condition that numerous amendments are added.

Here is the Society’s take on the result:

  1. Overview The Local Plan has to sit within the bounds set down by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)[1] which is created by central Government and underlies the entire plan-making process. Subject to the amendments mentioned above, the Inspector found that the Local Plan is indeed aligned with the NPPF.
  1. ‘Duty to Co-operate’ Draft Local Plans fail if they are not created as a result of co-operation and consultation between adjoining councils, public agencies and other stakeholders[2]. The Society argued at the EiP hearings that CDC had not met this requirement. The Inspector disagreed. She decided: ‘in preparing the Plan the Council has … engaged effectively with prescribed bodies to address strategic matters. It has therefore met the duty set out in section 33A of the 2004 Act’ (page 5, paragraph 11)
  1. ‘Soundness’: ‘Soundness’ is fundamental when assessing whether a Draft Local Plan is fit for purpose[3].In assessing soundness, the Inspector framed the EiP hearings around nine ‘issues’, asking whether the Plan:
    • Is a ‘robust strategy’
    • Is supported by ‘robust infrastructure planning’
    • Identifies ‘objectively’ the need for market and affordable housing
    • Maximises housing delivery
    • Provides for a ‘thriving local economy’
    • Allocates strategic development sites based on ‘robust evidence’
    • Identifies development sites through Neighbourhood Plans
    • Has environmental policies that are ‘soundly based’
    • Has effective built-in monitoring and delivery

Sue Turner concluded(page 27, paragraph 132) ‘that with the recommended main modifications set out in the Appendix the Chichester Local Plan satisfies the requirements of Section 20(5) of the 2004 act and meets the criteria for soundness in the National Planning Policy Framework’.

  1. A closer look at the Inspector’s opinions: the following comments focus on a few of the EiP report’s themes likely to be of interest to the Society’s members. The abbreviation “MM” signifies “Main Modification” (as listed in the appendix to the Inspector’s Report).
  • A ‘robust strategy’: the Inspector accepted the Plan’s intention to focus new development in an ‘East-West Corridor’ (para 15) after receiving CDC amendments which include:

‘The East-West Corridor is the main focus for new development proposed in the Local Plan…The Plan seeks to accommodate new growth within and around the city and to enhance its role as a sub-regional centre and visitor destination. However it is recognised that new development needs to be planned sensitively with special regard to the city’s historic environment and setting, whilst also addressing key infrastructure constraints, particularly in terms of wastewater treatment capacity and transport….’ (MM26).

  • Infrastructure planning: this technical section includes CDC amendments (MM22) about cycling and pedestrian infrastructure design; and about Apuldram Wastewater Catchment Area (MM 35). The Inspector observes ‘the Plan takes account of the need for strategic infrastructure and demonstrates that it can realistically be provided to ensure that the level of development that is proposed can be delivered’ (para 37).
  • Housing need estimates: CDC has increased its estimates for new homes required each year (MM7) to 505, excluding the National Park. The Inspector concurs (para 42).
  • Maximising housing delivery: the report identifies a mismatch between data on new homes needed, averaging 505 a year, and supply averaging 415. The reason relates to constraints in infrastructure such as A27 road works and wastewater drainage. This conundrum has been resolved for the present by CDC submitting an amendment (MM9) that acknowledges the supply gap:

‘For this reason the Council will review the Local Plan within five years to ensure that OAN (Objectively Assessed Need) is met…’.

The Inspector: ‘For these reasons I conclude that the Plan should be adopted now, subject to a commitment to a review to be completed within five years….(para 56).

  • Four strategic development sites:
    • West of Chi: target numbers during the Plan period increased from 1,000 to 1,250 (para 83). The Inspector notes local concern and uncertainty about sewerage treatment routes to Tangmere WwTW and proposals for an on-site treatment facility; but because the Plan is a strategic document detailed proposals are ‘not appropriate’ at this stage. ‘In these circumstances the provision of wastewater treatment facilities does not prevent a barrier to developing the West of Chichester’ (para 85).
    • Westhampnett/NE Chi: ‘I am satisfied that the Plan’s flexible and pragmatic approach to addressing the buffer between Goodwood and new housing development is appropriate and effective’ (para 93).
    • Shopwyke Lakes & Tangmere: are ’soundly based and deliverable.’ (paras 89 & 102).
  • Environment policies – protecting heritage assets: English Heritage was concerned and the outcome is six amendments to the Plan (MM100-105). The Inspector is satisfied ‘that the Plan includes an effective strategy to ensure the District’s heritage assets can be protected and which is consistent with the NPPF’.
  1. The ChiSoc view: The inspector’s conclusions are disappointing. On a number of points we felt that the evidence demonstrated failure of the Local Plan. The inspector concluded otherwise. On the issue of the duty to co-operate, we felt we had provided evidence of inadequate co-operation with Havant BC. The inspector concluded that there had been sufficient co-operation. On West of Chichester Strategic Development Location (SDL), despite numerous objections concerning inadequate transport infrastructure and wastewater treatment, which would make the site an unsuitable SDL, the inspector decided that these major difficulties were not a matter for the Local Plan but for resolution during the detailed planning process.

[1] The NPPF can be viewed at www.  Plan-making processes and policies are described from page 37

[2] NPPF, pages 42-43, paragraphs 178-181

[3] NPPF, page 43, paragraph 182

Local Plan – What’s been happening?

Local Plan – What’s been happening?

The Examination in Public (EIP) of Chichester District Council’s Local Plan took a break during the latter half of November while the District Council, on the recommendation of the Planning Inspector, reviewed its original housing target figure of 6,973 new homes to be built during the plan period (to 2029).

When the EIP resumed on 2 December, the Council outlined how it had reviewed its figures and proposed new, increased figures. The total number of new homes proposed would rise to 7,388 homes during the plan period, an increase from 410 per annum to 435. Of this increased number the overwhelming proportion, 250 homes were to be located at the West of Chichester Strategic Development Location, viz., Whitehouse Farm.

Notwithstanding the ‘encouragement’ from the Planning Inspector to review their methodology and maximise the number of homes to meet the objectively assessed need (OAN) for housing, there remains considerable doubt that the Council has come up with a satisfactory figure – anyway certainly not in the eyes of the developers.

The EIP sat for two days at the beginning of December before taking another break.

During the break the Council compiled its Draft Modifications to the Local Plan, which had arisen during and as a result of the Examination In Public. These modifications were approved by the District Council on 22 December.

On 8 January 2015 the modifications were put out for public consultation for a six week period ending on 19 February.

It is anticipated, though not certain, that the following will happen over the next weeks and months. First the Planning Inspector will consider the responses to the consultation on the modifications. A reconvening of the EIP may happen in late March. Sometime later the Inspector’s report will appear. The report may or may not approve the Local Plan.

Meanwhile there is the little matter of District Council elections, not to mention a General Election. The District Council will go into ‘purdah’ in April.

So one thing is for certain, it will be a different District Council, indeed a different Government that will be picking up the loose ends from the long-running saga of the Chichester Local Plan.

Local Plan – ChiSoc Submissions

The Society has written two submissions for the Examination in Public of the Chichester District Local Plan.

For our thoughts about the Council’s “Duty to Cooperate” click here (PDF document*).

For our thoughts about housing numbers and where new houses should go, click here (PDF document*).

And for an earlier posting giving our (somewhat jaundiced) thoughts about the whole Local Plan process, click here.

*If the term “PDF” means little to you, click here.