Villagers oppose plans for new homes in Lodsworth

Lodsworth villagers have voted against plans to build 20 new homes on part of the Lodsworth House estate.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 2:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:36 pm
The vegetable garden pictured in 1959, which forms part of the development site. Inset the wall around it today. Picture courtesy of the Lodsworth Heritage Society

They packed into the village hall on Monday evening to hear David Sarsons, the trustee of the estate, outline a proposal to build eight houses – a mix of two to three and three to four bedroom homes, as well as three bungalows and 12 affordable houses or flats, on land which is part of the Lodsworth House estate.

A string of questions were fired at Mr Sarsons from villagers who were concerned the plans flew in the face of their agreed parish plan and threatened green fields not only around Lodsworth but across the South Downs National Park.

Chichester district councillor Francis Hobbs told the meeting: “If the proposal goes through it could set a precedent for other developments both in Lodsworth and other local villages in the SDNP.”

Villager Martin Lester told the Observer: “This certainly has implications to the future of land outside settlement areas since the South Downs National Park (SDNP) have already had some preliminary discussions with the trustee.”

He said the plan was contrary to the Parish Design Statement, which was set in stone less than two years ago.

“Some people said they would not oppose minor development on the site,” said Mr Lester, “but once a precedent is created we would be dead in the water.

“One of the discussion points was the fact the late owner, Hugh Smith, was very much an absent landlord and for many, many years had let the grounds, including trees and an ancient stone wall, to fall into disrepair. The parish council, as well as the Lodsworth Larder committee, have been attempting to get the land owner to address these issues and, in particular, the overgrown trees which had reduced the efficiency of the solar panels on the roof of the shop by some 70 per cent.”

At the end of the meeting Cllr Hobbs called for a show of hands and around two thirds were against development.