Controversial homes plan may be ‘called in’ for decision

A controversial decision by Chichester District Council (CDC) to give the go-ahead for 54 homes at Kirdford, which fly in the face of the village’s neighbourhood plan (KNP), could be called in by the secretary of state.

“I hope the secretary of state decides to review the matter so this long-running issue can be resolved and, further, I believe the community deserves his support to have the relevant phasing policy upheld,” said Josef Ransley, who represents Kirdford at CDC.

“After all the examiner, appointed by the secretary of state, who reviewed all the Kirdford NP policies brought forward by the community three years ago, certainly considered the policy justified, reasonable and appropriate.”

The major housing development was approved before Christmas despite opposition to the delivery timeframe planned.

The proposal for land east of Plaistow Road had been deferred by CDC’s planning committee in October to allow officers to clarify if a longer delivery scheme could be achieved.

But since then the developer, CALA Homes, said it did not want to agree to any phasing plan which was a requirement in Kirdford’s adopted neighbourhood plan.

The KNP policies required up to ten-year phasing to ensure housing was delivered in line with local need.

The planning committee gave permission for the 54 houses in December, if the developer agreed to phasing of up to five years.

“CDC councillors concluded varying the policy with the compromise of a five year phased plan was justified,” said cllr Ransley.

“CALA Homes refused to accept this compromise at the committee, arguing CDC policies and those of the KNP were no longer applicable in light of the current supply of new housing in the district.

“While councillors rejected that argument they nevertheless decided to permit the development on the basis of a five-year phasing plan.”