VOTE: Should the council make the neighbourhood plan its top priority when deciding new applications?

Villagers are ‘furious’ after a second bid for homes on land set aside for a community hall.

Development company Cascade Rural Housing Solutions Ltd has resubmitted an application to build on land west of Cornwood, near Kirdford, after withdrawing a similar plan two years ago.

But in a neighbourhood plan drawn up by residents and councillors of Kirdford, the land was designated for a village hall and recreation ground.

The application proposes seven affordable local needs houses and seven age-restricted private bungalows.

Kirdford residents Richard and Mindy Daubeny, who live on Townfield, have already raised objections to the application, writing to Chichester District Council and pointing out Kirdford’s recent neighbourhood plan.

Mrs Daubeny said: “We have very recently agreed a neighbourhood plan for Kirdford, led by Cllr Josef Ransley, in consultation with the village community.

“If the council approved this planning application, it would do so against the wishes of the people of Kirdford.

“Three years of work has gone into developing the neighbourhood plan and for it to be so blatantly ignored by the council makes a mockery of the whole government policy on enabling local people to have a say in planning and development in the local area.

“If this planning application is approved then the effectiveness of the Localism Act 2011 will be significantly compromised.”

The former application for the site was for 15 local needs houses, and was withdrawn without explanation on March 12, 2010.

A new planning policy statement said: “The mix of housing types has been carefully considered to take into account the character of the area and local requirements. This proposal for 14 dwellings offers a form of development which would not detract from the character of the area but would also provide much needed affordable dwellings.”

Another Townfield resident Tricia Broom, said: “We are worried because if 14 houses are approved it will just grow and grow and we are a small village.

“In our neighbourhood plan we have not said we don’t want any buildings in the village, and we have said where we want them to be. We are very passionate about this.”

Kirdford Parish Council will meet to discuss the application on December 14, at Kirdford Parish Hall, from 7pm. The public are welcome to attend the meeting.

A spokeswoman for Chichester District Council said: “The council’s planning officers are in contact with the parish council to offer guidance on the status of the neighbourhood plan and its relevance to planning applications.”

To view the plans, visit Chichester District Council’s online planning portal on pawam.chichester.gov.uk/online-applications and quote reference 12/04138/FUL

What do you think?

Should the council make the neighbourhood plan its top priority when deciding new applications? Have your say in the vote panel on the right and leave your comments below.