‘Thin end of the wedge’ warning over development

Councillor Luke Stubbs

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A PROPOSED housing development in a protected beauty spot could open the floodgates to further development, residents have warned.

People living in Birdham are angry after planning officers recommended approval for a 46-home development in the village.

The site is within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), which stretches from Hayling Island to Chichester.

Laurie Pocock, Birdham Village Residents’ Association, said: ‘A further 46 houses will put unprecedented pressure on our already at-capacity infrastructure as anyone trying to use the A286 recently can attest.’

Campaigners say national guidelines clearly state planning should be refused for major developments in AONBs except in exceptional circumstances.

But the planning officer’s report said: ‘This field has housing development on three-and-a-half sides and is not connected to the wider countryside in a physical or functional way.

‘The contribution it makes to the overall character of the AONB is therefore considered to be relatively limited.’

A decision will be made tomorrow by the planning committee of Chichester District Council.