Former Fittleworth coal yard plan given go ahead

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build homes on the site of the old coal yard in Fittleworth have been given the green light.

Despite a raft of objections from villagers as well as the parish council, members of Chichester District Council’s planning committee have approved a proposal for nine homes in a courtyard arrangement.

Their decision to permit the development came subject to a section 106 agreement for developers contributions.

The proposal includes a terrace of three and a pair of semi-detached houses along the eastern edge, a terrace of four homes along the southern boundary and a single storey car barn with nine parking spaces along the western boundary.

Access would be through School Close.

The proposal from developer Timothy Marchant-Lane followed an application for five houses on the site in School Lane, which was submitted to Chichester District Council (CDC) last year.

But the district council was unhappy with the density and form of the scheme believing that the number of homes should be increased.

Planning consultant Elizabeth Lawrence acting for the developer said: “No objections were raised to the principle of the development of the site for housing.”

But following a site meeting with Mr Marchant-Lane and a meeting with neighbours in School Close, Fittleworth parish councillors raised concerns regarding the proposed new homes.

In a letter to members of CDC’s planning committee they said in common with villagers they were surprised at the increase to nine units and considered the courtyard scheme generally not in keeping with the rest of Fittleworth village.

In addition they said they understood the project would include one or two affordable units. Parish councillors felt the village was in need of affordable three bedroom family homes rather than the proposed one and two bedroom affordable units.”

Construction of the estate road and allowance for parking were also a concern as well as the risk of surface water flooding.

“One of the most serious concerns the parish council had with this and the previous application was the provision for water run-off from the buildings when the stream is in full flood and about 30 per cent of the site becomes a flood plain.”

Chairman of the School Close Residents Association Nigel Farr disputed the site was a previously developed brownfield site.

“No building ever existed here and no industry is talking place and it is currently classified agricultural land.”

He said its previous use was a cart track for a horse and an open air coal storage area for the village delivery adjacent to what was the village pond.”