Protesters unite to fight housing plans in coastal villages
Protestors from coastal villages near Chichester Harbour and the Manhood Peninsula came together to resist plans for more than 6,000 new homes in the pipeline today (July 20).
“Even at the moment (of the Manhood Peninsula) can’t cope, the sewage systems can’t cope and climate change is hitting us,” said Joan Foster, chair of the Manhood Peninsula Action Group. “We could be underwater by 2050. I’m here to make sure we have a local plan that truly represents what we need.”
Alongside the 6,000 homes already in the works for the area, protestors are concerned that Chichester District Council does not have a Local Plan in place, which can leave it in a weaker position when it comes to developers’ appeals.
They worry that the new homes – as well as the developments which might follow – will damage the environment and put strain on regional infrastructure – most notably the sewage system.
Andrew Kerry-Bedell, a member of Save Our Harbour Villages (SOHV), said: “It’s about schools, it’s about roads, it’s about healthcare. It’s about everything. There are lots of new houses planned but a lack of infrastructure.”
The protest was held outside East Pallant House, before a meeting of Chichester District Council where the Local Plan Review was set to be discussed.
A Chichester District Council spokesperson said: “Wider issues such as the transport network and housing allocations are currently being addressed as part of the Local Plan Review. The Government has changed the way it calculates future housing needs and this means that we are now expected to take more housing within our area. Over the past couple of years, we have sent letters and been involved in meetings with Government officials to explain the complex issues we face in our area, but we were told that we are not an exceptional case.
“It was made clear by the Housing Minister that if we believe that the evidence we collect shows we cannot meet our full housing needs, then the Local Plan may be submitted for examination on that basis. However, the Inspector assessing our plan must have evidence that demonstrates in planning terms, what can and can’t be achieved. This also needs to demonstrate that all available options have been considered. This is what we are currently assessing through the Local Plan Review – including carrying out detailed transport assessments identifying what improvements could be made to meet the additional need from future housing growth.”