Earlier this week a Planning Appeal hearing was held to determine whether developers would be given planning permission to build twenty-two two-and-a-half storey houses on one of Westbourne’s long established green fields, between Long Copse Lane and North Street.
Chichester District Council had previously refused planning permission but, with the recent change in the law stacking the deck in favour of property developers and against local people, the developers came back for another bite at the cherry.
They must be confident of getting their way, as central government wants them to, because, although the district council had earlier feebly told them they could build eighteen of these barracks on the site, that wasn’t good enough for them and they lodged an appeal for permission to build the twenty-two they originally wanted.
The appeal hearing was held at the council’s offices in Chichester and was chaired by an Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate. Both sides, that is the developers and the council resisting the appeal, were represented by lawyers and called on expert witnesses.
The residents of Westbourne attended in large numbers throughout the three days of the hearing. They (and not the Parish Council, as inaccurately reported by the local press) had hired a specialist planning solicitor, who made representations on their behalf regarding the serious impact such a development would have on the already overstrained infrastructure and amenities of the village.
Several Westbourne residents, the organizers of the vigorous campaign to fight the proposed scheme, also gave evidence and cross-examined the developer’s witnesses on their evidence.
I attended the hearing in order to support the people of Westbourne. I testified to what I believe is common sense: that the proposed development is unsuitable, unwanted and detracts from the historic character and rural charm of the village, a precious part of England’s heritage which we have a duty to preserve for future generations of our people.
Government has given their friends, the developers, the green light to rape and pillage our countryside in the name of ‘growth’ (read immigration) and to hell with our quality of life.
Westbourne’s fight is also Chichester’s fight (and vice versa). Communities throughout the country, but particularly in the overpopulated South East of England, face the same threat of inappropriate ribbon development and the destruction of their green belt. The sneering traitors of the political Establishment try to play off one community against another. We, the people, should not let them, because, as one of the villagers said, “we’re all on the same side”.
If new housing is to be built in the South East at all (which it shouldn’t and needn’t be, if immigration were stopped) it should be on brownfield sites, of which there is an abundance within our towns and cities, rather than on greenfield sites. Developers could still make a handsome profit from building on brownfield sites and would have the added satisfaction of knowing that they were acting in a more socially responsible manner.
The Planning Inspector’s decision is expected before the end of the year.