I AM somewhat bemused by Mr Fish’s letter concerning the Southbourne Neighbourhood Plan. He seems to think that the idea of 1,600 houses being built on land in Southbourne if the Neighbourhood Plan were not put in place is ‘preposterous’ but I believe he is being naïve.
Does he really think that landowners who wish to develop would not try their hand at obtaining permission to build? While I hope the District Council would not grant permission for such large numbers I would think there is enough land in the whole of Southbourne on which to build far more than 1,600 houses if developers were given a free rein.
No-one disputes that more housing is needed and that Southbourne must take its share but I thought the idea of the Neighbourhood Plan was to find sensible and practical sites for our allocation of the 350 new homes as required by Chichester District’s Local Plan.
Mr Fish also comments on the ‘presumably unelected’ people putting together the plan. Who does he believe should have elected them? These are people from the community who came forward and offered their own expertise and time to make it happen when Southbourne Parish Council first mooted their plans for a Neighbourhood Plan. I am sure that the work could not have been done without them and I commend their dedication.
The Steering Committee for the Plan has worked extremely hard for more than two years to bring it to fruition. I think the least we residents of Southbourne can do is to take this Plan seriously and support them.