Council must fight to protect gap

YOUR OTHERWISE excellent report of the district development planning committee on May 9, was understandably silent over the sense of outrage given to the local residents who live in the area most affected by the proposal to build 24 new houses on the Hunters Rest land.

This land is not only in the parish of Lavant, but forms part of the strategic gap around Chichester.

There is also the importance of respect required for the nearby National Park.

Your report refers to strong objections made by Messrs Tony Dignum and Mike Hall, but under the system available to them and other non-committee speakers, they had time limits of three minutes in which to make their points and of course no vote.

No questions were put to them and other objectors, and I understand that the member who represented Lavant was the chairman Mr A Smith.

Although supporters of the scheme described their decisions as difficult, no explanation was called for and the only question raised appeared to be addressed to the developer’s representative.

There was paperwork (some 25 sheets) of detailed enquiries/official views which were given to those of us who attended this meeting which was opened by Mr Smith.

Before he or anyone else said anything, he reminded his voting colleagues there could be high costs if they did not accept the planning officer’s recommendation to accept the proposals.

Unlike the view subscribed of giving in to moving goalposts, the Campaign to Protect Rural England reckon the government’s National Planning Policy Framework requires strong new local plans to be in place by March of next year.

Failure to carry this out could result in unrestricted development by default and underlines the need for a strong and clear policy at local council levels.

I very much hope the council have this in hand and if there is no building land available because of development already made, they should say so.

PH Strode

Pook Lane, East Lavant