Developers want to ruin our villages

The lead story in the Observer (August 23) ‘Fury as homes policy open the floodgates’ regarding protests by Tangmere Parish Council raises some very important points.

Firstly FAD (Facilitating Appropriate Development), introduced by the district council, is a scheme to remove the controls on housing development on our most precious green open spaces surrounding our villages.

FAD, described by some as the Developers’ Charter, will have far-reaching effects in expanding Sussex villages outwards by estates, so ruining the character of many communities which are quintessential rural settlements with a great sense of community loyalty, an appropriate geographical size and population with easy access to the green open surrounding land.

A developer’s dream is to have a building site on the edge of one of our villages.

Under the Local Plan 1999, housing development can only take place within the Settlement Policy Area of each village, a tight ring effectively holding in development and protecting our green surrounding countryside. FAD appears to be proscribed to overcome this constraint.

It is hardly creditable that FAD was introduced without any notice or consultation and with a blatant rejection of the democratic process that surely 
must precede the adoption of such a far-reaching policy.

It seems CDC is trying to pe-empt the LDF procedures but at least the LDF process will entail proper open democratic consultation.

The first occasion with at least the two parish councils I consulted knew of it, was when they received planning applications in July this year, for developments quoting FAD as justification,

In short, FAD, as applied by CDC, could cause immense damage to our countryside.

It has been brought in totally without consultation and I urge all parish councils and individuals to support Tangmere Parish Council in their protest and call for the FAD policy to be suspended immediately.

Secondly, the justification for the call for more housing is the great need and presumably the growing population?

Utter nonsense.

In their earlier housing proposals, CDC engaged a demographic consultancy of national standing, DTZ, to assess the population growth in the Chichester district and from that give guidance on the housing provision that should be made.

The judgement of DTZ was that with such an ageing population, the death rate exceeds the birth rate by some measure and as a result the decline in local population here means there are 100 or more homes becoming vacant every year in the district. We have, simply, a declining local population in the district.

The cry ‘more houses’ therefore is obviously developer and landowner-led and is not solving a local social need but is based on the proven fact new or vacant property will attract outsiders.

Indeed, the consultants DTZ further state that what they call ‘in-migration probably from the London area’ would be needed to take up the huge housing numbers originally proposed.

Commercial pressure is at work and our elected councillors will, on reflection I trust, act to defend our villages and countryside and not submit to such vested interests.

Mark Neave,

Chairman, Mundham and Runcton Residents’ Association,

Summer Place, Runcton