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WCT Newsletter No. 6
April 2020

Westbourne Community Trust

Mill Road Affordable Housing Project Update.

Outcome of Public Consultation - March 2020

Westbourne Community Trust is preparing for the submission of a planning application for its proposed development on part of the park on land at the rear of 30 to 56 Mill Road Westbourne.  We had previously consulted the community on our proposals in February 2019 and July 2019.  Following the July 2019 consultation, we received 58 responses of which 49 (85%) supported the proposed development.  Since then discussions have taken place with Chichester District Council Planning Team and we have commissioned specialist advice on various aspects of the proposals to produce a revised scheme.  
The original intention was to hold a drop-in consultation event in the Westbourne Primary School so that the proposals could be displayed and discussion could take place with our architects and trustees on a face to face basis.  However, the Corona Virus epidemic made this impossible.  Therefore, the Trust held the 3rd round of public consultation on these revised proposals online from Friday 20 March to Sunday 29 March 2020, giving the community the opportunity to make comments online and to receive a response to those comments from the Trust.
The design of the revised scheme was substantially similar to the proposals that were prepared for the public consultation in July 2019. However, we did make some significant changes to the details based on residents’ comments, the views of the Chichester Planning Team and the advice of our specialist consultants.
The key changes that were made to the revised scheme are as follows;
  1. The proposed houses have been repositioned slightly away from the northern boundary to reduce the impact on the open countryside beyond.
  2. Agreement has been obtained from the land owner to the north of the site to allow extensive new planting on that land, which helps to screen the development from open countryside.
  3. Agreement has been reached with that same landowner to allow construction traffic to use a temporary access to the site direct from Foxbury Lane.  This will avoid disruption from construction traffic to residents of Mill Road.
  4. A jogging track has been included around the retained park area which is linked to the proposed pedestrian access to the school. This will be helpful to the school when pupils take part in “measured mile” runs and will also benefit all users of the park.
Every comment that was made in the online consultation was published in full together with a detailed response.  These comments and the Trust’s responses can be seen on the Trust’s website.  The comments are summarised below.
  • In total 11 individuals responded with comments, in some cases more than one comment was received from an individual. One of the comments was by letter.
  • 3 individuals supported the plans and 2 of these had specific comments and queries about the details
  • 4 individuals object to the proposals mainly on the grounds of the loss of part of the existing park
  • 4 individuals asked questions about the details without indicating either support or objection
Those who objected gave the following reasons.
  • Loss of public open space and existing recreational facilities
  • There is already a shortage of public open space in Westbourne
  • The site is outside the settlement boundary of the village
  • The proposal will blight views of the National Park
  • There are preferable alternative sites that should be used for development
  • A smaller development would be preferred
  • The impact of the building work on existing residents
  • The scheme would generate additional traffic and cause congestion
  • The scheme will cause flooding for existing properties
Those who had comments or queries about the details, made the following points.
  • Comments about the layout of the new parking spaces proposed in Mill Road
  • Will the new spaces in Mill Road be provided before development commences?
  • Will there be any new parking proposed in Churcher Road?
  • Will the green spaces at Churcher Road and Mill Road junction be affected?
  • Who will be entitled to occupy the new houses?
  • Will Mill Road be widened?
  • Will there be sufficient parking spaces for the new houses, the users of the park and the allotments?
  • Parents dropping off children by car to make use of the new pedestrian gate from the park will cause congestion in Mill Road
  • Will there be benches for picnics?
  • How will the new houses be maintained?
  • Is the site at risk of flooding and will it increase the risk of flooding for existing houses?
  • The Trust should be as transparent as possible with its proposals and make the Sequential Test report available for public inspection prior to submitting a planning application.
As mentioned above the Trust has responded in detail to every comment received and the responses can be found on our website through the link above.  However, in response to the comments about the amount of parking space for users of the park and the allotments we have asked our Architects to increase the number of spaces provided and the plan has now been modified to increase the number of spaces by 4.
The proposed layout of off-street parking spaces proposed for Mill Road, as shown in the consultation designs, was indicated to be provisional and subject to the results of a survey of underground services. It was known that this survey could potentially affect the position and number of spaces that could be provided.  We have now got the full results of that survey work and there are some locations where it is simply not feasible to place new parking spaces because of underground services. We have therefore revised the layout of this parking provision and have had to reduce the number of spaces provided slightly.  Instead of the 26 we originally proposed we have reduced the number to 23. The revised layout is available to inspect on our website at this link.
Our preparations for the submission of a planning application are now almost complete.  We expect to submit this application in the near future.  All residents can of course make comments about the planning application directly to the Council once it is submitted. We are extremely grateful to our 106 members who are all from the local community and who support our objectives and proposals for affordable housing. We would also like to thank all residents who have commented on the scheme during the 3 rounds of public consultation.  We hope to secure a planning permission and then build a much needed affordable housing scheme of exceptional design that the local community can be proud of.
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