New homes proposal on the edge of Midhurst is ‘plan too far’

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Controversial plans for up to 32 homes on land south of Barlavington Way on the edge of Midhurst have been thrown out by the South Downs National Park Authority.

Developers were criticised for ‘wanton deforestation’ after mature trees including a 135 year old were hacked down.

And both Midhurst town councillors and West Lavington parish councillors have strongly objected to the outline plans by ICS Estates Ltd for to 20 open market homes and 12 affordable houses.

Today (Thursday, June 15) members of the national park’s planning committee backed their officers’ recommendation to refuse the plan saying its was a greenfield site outside the settlement boundary and there was no overriding need to develop as the housing need for the area had been met. Officers said it was a ‘sensitive and elevated’ site and the plan constituted ‘unacceptable urban development’.

Voicing the objections of Midhurst Town Council The Rev David Coote said although only four of the proposed homes were in the Midhurst boundary, (the rest were in West Lavington) the development would impact greatly on the town: “We regard this as a planning application too far. If it is permitted it will place even further pressure on oversubscribed local schools, a further burden on the health services and further unacceptable harm to the landscape.”

But speaking for ICS Estates, their agent said there were 79 households with a local connection in need of affordable housing in the town: “Waiting for new housing to be built through the Local Plan is a simply not an option when the need is now.”

Speaking about the loss of the trees Tom Jones told fellow committee members: “So that’s extreme woodland management.”

Alan Alesbury said: “This is a classic site that we as a national park should be protesting. I can hardly think of a more inappropriate development site.”

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