Fears South Downs village would be ‘destroyed forever’ if development goes ahead

A small South Downs village would be ‘destroyed forever’ if new development proposals go ahead.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 12:49 pm

That’s the view of campaigning MP Andrew Griffith who is backing local councillors’ opposition to plans to build 70 new homes in Kirdford

The councillors say that the development would increase the size of the small village by 55 per cent.

Their fight has won the support of the Arundel and South Downs MP who last year forced a government rethink on housing numbers.

Kirdford Parish Council chairman Amanda Gillet; chairman of Kirdford Community Land Trust Councillor Tony Piedade and Arundel and South Downs MP Andrew Griffith.

“This is an entirely inappropriate proposal for what is a quaint rural Sussex village with significant infrastructure challenges,” said Andrew Griffith.

“Villages like Kirdford have a distinctive rural character which in my view is worth protecting.

“This scale of development will destroy this village for ever.”

Welbeck Land are seeking planning approval from Chichester District Council to build the 70 houses on a 13-acre former agricultural site south of Townfield in Kirdford – a rural ‘Dark Skies’ area with a small village shop and two pubs.

Kirdford Parish Council says there are already 54 new houses being built on land at Chapel Field on Plaistow Road and, if the 70 new homes are built south of Townfield, it would ‘see our village grow by 55 per cent.’

And, it says, anger is growing throughout Kirdford, Plaistow and ifold, Wisborough Green and Ebernoe over the plans.

A spokesman said that the development plans were “now seen as a test case that will determine the future of many rural villages across the county.”

Ward councillor Gareth Evans said: “I am outraged at this unsustainable proposal at a site which was previously full of wildlife.

“By anyone’s assessment, a 55 per cent growth is unsustainable and unnecessary.

“Government policy on where new housing growth should be focused is clear and does not include concreting over agricultural fields and forcing the rapid growth of small rural communities at an unsustainable pace without the infrastructure in place.

“It would be a travesty and national embarrassment if this was supported by Chichester District Council.

“We cannot keep exposing our rural communities to this level of attack by developers. Enough is enough.”

Fellow ward councillor Janet Duncton added: “Kirdford has received more than its fair share of housing allocation.”