Petworth’s Neighbourhood Plan is about to face its first big test.
The plan was set in stone by planners at the South Downs National Park earlier this year and includes detailed policies on how the community wants to see the town develop over the next 15 years, including where and how housing would be built.
Now it is threatened by a plan from West Sussex County Council to build 34 homes on its Rotherlea site in Dawtrey Road.
Chris Kemp, chairman of the town council, which masterminded the neighbourhood plan, said: “This is the first big test for our neighbourhood plan and we are really looking to the South Downs National Park to support all the policies which are contained in it.”
He added: “This plan, from West Sussex County Council is so far away from our neighbourhood plan that it has got to fail.”
The town’s plan envisages some 23 new houses on the site. Objecting to the county council’s proposals, town councillors said the density and mix of housing types did not meet the neighbourhood plan policies.
Parking is also an issue. Town councillors said: “The application proposes 57 spaces, of which eight are outside of the site boundary. It does not address displacement of the parking spaces lost due to the development and does not address the additional impact on the existing streets, estate access and parking demand.
There has been a raft of objections, including Chichester district councillor Eileen Lintill, who said: Until such time as a new entrance to the primary school site is constructed no development on this site should be progressed.
“As a governor at the primary school I see on a daily basis the problems occurring on Wyndham Road, South Grove and Littlecote as a result of inadequate parking options.
“If this development goes ahead there is an even greater health and safety risk to the children and parents walking to school.”