LETTER: Housing plan fears

I WAS one of the many locals who crowded into Vicars Hall today to look at proposals from Miller Homes and Linden Homes to build 1,600 properties on Whitehouse Farm on the western edge of Chichester.

The numbers who attended speak for the unease with which so many of us view these ideas.

As I am not confident that my comments will be taken seriously, or even read, by the team of consultants who were present, I thought it was worth expressing my anxieties in a letter to this paper!

First and foremost, I think the exercise today was flawed for the simple reason that the local plan has yet to be agreed.

An inspector has been appointed to carry out an examination in public of Chichester District Council’s draft plan. The inspector does not begin work until September 30.

At the end of the day, the inspector might just conceivably throw out elements of the plan!

However, we have been instructed by the developers to return our comments by July 25. What is

the rush?

The basic problem is that unfortunately development in this country is developer-led, particularly in small, under-resourced, local authorities such as Chichester district. The Whitehouse Farm development proposals are developer-led.

Miller Homes and Linden Homes are using well-resourced consultancies to lead this so-called consultation, and are answerable only to shareholders.

This is particularly distasteful for despite what Miller Homes and Linden Homes had on display today, there is nothing in their proposals which will not exacerbate already existing infrastructure problems, most importantly road transport issues, which have bedevilled this end of Chichester for decades, and a sewage system which is operating at capacity already.

Only when solutions to these problems have been agreed, and set out clearly in the local plan, the funds identified and a timetable agreed to sort them out, should we be contemplating development on Whitehouse Farm, or anywhere else in the city for that matter.

In fairness, the scheme itself is not too bad as such schemes go, but not on this site, constrained as it is by existing development, and a whole range of infrastructure problems.

Sarah Quail