Inquiry told there is ‘desperate need’ for new housing

The site of the  proposed development at Foxbury Lane in Westbourne
The site of the proposed development at Foxbury Lane in Westbourne
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THE government’s planning inspector has been told there is a severe and urgent shortage of housing in Westbourne.

The claim was made at an appeal by Taylor Wimpey into Chichester District Council’s decision to refuse permission for 28 new homes in the West Sussex village.

Last year the developer submitted plans for land off Cemetery Lane.

There was overwhelming opposition to the proposals from the community and the parish council.

But, in his opening statement at the hearing yesterday Andrew Tabachnik, acting for Taylor Wimpey, said: ‘There is, as there has been for some considerable time in this district, a severe housing supply shortage.

‘The local authority can demonstrate no more than a four-year supply against government requirements of a five-year supply of deliverable housing. What that translates into, in terms of the number of houses, is 748 new homes under-provided.’

He added: ‘Permission should be granted unless there are adverse planning consequences which significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.

‘If you examine the benefits (of the development) they are considerable – 17 market units and 11 affordable units. All desperately needed.’

The refusal in June 2013 was because the development was outside the accepted Westbourne Settlement Policy Area – the village’s agreed housing boundaries.

Planning officers found it would ‘significantly compromise’ the rural character and appearance of the approach to the village along Foxbury Lane, and the wider setting of the cemetery.

Gwion Lewis, acting on behalf of Chichester District Council, told the inquiry the proposal would lead to the loss of a pasture field.

He said it would also mean the loss of an open rural view, create an ‘oppressive’ corridor of housing, and would be out of character to the rest of village.

The historic gap between village and cemetery would be lost, said Mr Lewis, who added: ‘The adverse effects of the proposal would significantly and demonstrably outweigh its benefits.’

The inquiry at Havant’s Public Service Plaza, is set to conclude tomorrow.