Latest attempt for homes in Woodgate is dismissed

CLIMATE change has ruled out a second attempt to build homes on a Woodgate site.

Planning inspector Robert Marshall has dismissed an appeal for up to 85 dwellings to replace the Woodgate Centre.

His report said the location on Oak Tree Lane was unsustainable for housing.

“It would not provide development sufficiently accessible to local services and would encourage travel by car which would impact adversely on the use of natural resources and the need to adapt to climate change, including moving to a low-carbon economy,” he stated.

“I find this to be the decisive consideration in this case.”

Mr Marshall said his reasoning over-rode matters such as whether or not Arun District Council had the required five-year housing land supply and its delay in producing a new local plan for land use.

His decision was revealed last Thursday to Arun district councillors by the council’s planning services head, Cllr Ricky Bowers.

One of Barnham’s councillors, Jonathan Charles (C), said: “I’m pleased with the inspector’s decision. It’s nice to win one.

“It recognises the concerns that councillors have about that area.”

Mr Marshall chaired the public inquiry two months ago into the appeal by Builtform Developments against Arun’s refusal to grant planning permission for its latest outline scheme.

It included up to 60 dwellings for open market sale and up to 25 affordable dwellings, 2.9 hectares of public open space and 0.2ha for community services.

Councillors said the development was poorly located for jobs, schools, shops and community facilities and public transport links. It would also cause an unacceptable increase in traffic in nearby roads.

The company’s previous scheme – for up to 100 dwellings – was rejected by another inspector after an appeal last year

Mr Marshall said five main issues were involved with the latest proposal.

These were the location, highway safety and traffic flow if the affordable housing was guaranteed, and whether Arun or Builtform were right over the required five-year supply of housing land.

Mr Marshall said the roads around the centre and the volume of traffic also made it unlikely anyone would cycle far to mean they would use cars instead.

A community bus service proposed by Builtform for the residents of the new housing to Barnham, Bognor Regis and the Ormiston Six Villages Academy was unlikely to be a success, he stated.

But he agreed safety improvements put forward by Builtform would help pedestrians in spite of concerns from the council.

Mr Marshall added a legal deal proposed by Builtform would ensure the affordable housing was built. But none of this was enough to overcome the worries about the location of the development.

Mike Turner, the Villages’ Action Group chairman, said: “I’m pleased the inspector’s grounds for refusal emphasised the proposal’s lack of sustainability.”