‘Suburban’ homes could ‘ruin’ rural Graffham landscape

Area in front of the Homes of Rest in Graffham.Picture byl Kate Shemilt.C141494-1 SUS-150501-184107001
Area in front of the Homes of Rest in Graffham.Picture byl Kate Shemilt.C141494-1 SUS-150501-184107001

A PUBLIC meeting is to be called in Graffham after a storm of protests over plans to build new ‘suburban’ homes in a rural landscape.

More than 60 people objected to the original plans, which have now been amended.

But villagers are still concerned about what they claim will be an increase in noise, parking and traffic.

Reside Developments Limited want to demolish four cottages on land surrounding the Homes of Rest in Graffham, building in their place five new houses, consisting of three detached and two semi-detached.

Graffham Parish Council is holding a public meeting on January 19 to give villagers the chance to voice their concerns.

Resident Carolyn Uphill echoed the feelings of many objectors when she wrote to the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) to comment on the original plan.

“Contrary to declared objectives for the national park, demolition of the four bungalow units removes four of the very few affordable rental homes in Graffham.

“It is quite easy to envisage there will be a quadrupling of traffic, possibly more.”

Residents said they were also worried about the ‘sustainability’ of the proposed development.

A landmark in the village, the Grade II-listed Homes of Rest building comprises three almshouses built in 1928 to accommodate retired workers from the Graffham and Lavington estate.

Graffham Parish Council objected to the plans submitted in 2014, describing it as ‘over development’.

Councillors said the number and size of dwellings would have an adverse impact on neighbouring properties, leading to a significant increase in traffic around the village, which they said would ‘add to existing dangers on the narrow access road and create additional pressure on current roadside parking limitations.’

The parish council said the design of the houses was ‘not in keeping with the village scene’.

Council vice-chairman Nick Lobley said: “There were strong objections from a lot of parishioners.

“We will hold a public meeting to discuss the revised application.”

This is not the first application to be made on this piece of land. In August 2007, an application for the demolition of the existing four bungalows to be replaced by eight properties was withdrawn by the applicant. In December 2010 a revised application for the demolition of the bungalows and the construction of six properties was also withdrawn.

The application is being dealt with by Chichester District Council (CDC), acting as an agent for the SDNPA. A CDC spokesman said: “The application will be considered by our planning committee, the next two meetings are in early February and March but we don’t know yet which agenda it will be part of.

“The two pairs of cottages to be removed are post-1948 buildings and therefore not listed. There is one small outbuilding that is thought to be contemporaneous in age with the Homes of Rest.

“This is considered ‘curtilage listed’ and is being refurbished and retained as part of the proposals.”

Residents have until January 29 to comment on the proposals, which can be found online at southdowns.gov.uk under the application number SDNP/14/02844/FUL