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Birdham Parish Council > Minutes > Minutes of the Council Meeting of the 17th March 2014

Minutes of the Council Meeting of the 17th March 2014

 

Birdham Parish Council

 

Minutes of the

Meeting of the Parish Council

 held on Monday 17th March 2014

at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall

 

Present:                     Cllr Finch (Chairman), Cllr Cobbold (Vice Chairman), Cllr Barker, Cllr Hamilton and

Cllr Ayton,

 

Apologies:                   Cllr Grafham and Cllr Churchill                

 

In attendance:             The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC) and 9 members of the public.

 

108-13 Public Question time in accordance with Standing Orders 1d -1l:

              Mr Pocock said that the BVRA are advanced with their preparations for the Church Lane appeal. They were working with CDC and the Harbour Conservancy. He said that their solicitor had asked if the Parish Council would consider writing a letter of support which could then be used at the appeal.

              It was resolved to instruct the Clerk to write a letter of support to the BVRA against the appeal by the developer to develop the Church Lane site.

              Mr Pocock then asked if the Parish Council would consider writing to Southern Water to determine the level and quality of foul water discharge into the harbour from the treatment works at Sidlesham during December 2013 and January 2014. The Clerk said that he would write but did not expect a speedy response.

              Cllr Montyn said that the answer was likely to be a planning issue and will depend on the available headroom. It is known that the discharge of untreated effluent at Apuldram is high and is likely to be higher than that of Sidlesham. He went on to say that the Chaucer planning application has already been told that there is no available headroom.

              Cllr Cobbold said that if Southern Water is discharging beyond their license then this was something that the Parish Council needed to be aware of.

              A question was raised about the future of the Spinnaker Restaurant at the Marina and information was given about a petition that in the very short time it had been running had raised some 750 signatures. Although the Parish Council were aware of the Marina refurbishment they had not yet received notification of an application.     

                  

109-13 Declaration of Interests:

Cllr Cobbold declared a personal interest in planning application BI/14/00036/DOM as it was opposite her home.

 

110-13 Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 20th January 2014:

            Mr Barrington had asked the Clerk to revise minute 103-13iii) as follows:

 

Mr Barrington reported that 3 walks of the village ditch and drain network had now been completed. The current wet weather had given the opportunity to see where the main problem areas existed though no properties appear to have been seriously affected. A blockage in a culvert in the SW corner of the Church Lane field had been cleared with the help from WSCC Drainage department and they had also cleared other road gullies in the area.   He added that a meeting had been held with the farmers of the land by Court Barn and Lock Lane who were being very helpful.

Mr Barrington also informed the meeting that a Wetlands Officer had also been appointed as a result of a grant from the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group and he was working with the Flood Prevention Group to carry out an assessment of the drainage network in relation to the protection of wildlife. Some further areas still remained to be mapped and he advised that, where ditches needed attention, riparian owners would be contacted in due course. The Group was also looking for contractors who may be able to assist with ditch clearing work.

 

The Clerk had agreed to this amendment.

 

It was resolved that subject to minute revised above to adopt the minutes of the 20th January 2014 as a true and accurate record.

 

111-13 Matters arising from the minutes of the 19th November 2012:

Minute 89-12 – Land Bequest.The Clerk said that he had nothing to report.

 

 

112-13 Clerks’ Report:

i)     WSCC – The Clerk said that he had received a report from WSCC concerning the long overdue completion of the height restriction barriers. Although originally due for completion at the latest early January this had been delayed. Completion was now scheduled to be completed by the 24th March.

ii)    CDC – a) The Clerk reported that he had received the latest version of the Register of Electors.

b) A copy of an enforcement notice against Kellys Farm Bell Lane had been received. This ordered that the garage, which had been converted without planning permission, to a dwelling house be returned to its original function as a garage and that all items used as a  dwelling house be removed.

c) The Clerk said that he had received a consultation document concerning the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). He went on to say that he felt the document was well laid out and explained both the methodology and structure of the CIL. He felt that the only area of concern was at para 4.6 which was concerned with the transfer of land rather than an actual payment with the result that it was impossible to tell how the CIL payment to the parish would or could be made.

As the consultation is to last until the 5.00pm on the 23rd April the Clerk felt that there was sufficient time in which to bring this to the attention of CDC but, he also asked that both Councillors and residents read the report in order that a complete response could be made.

iii)     Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Montyn (WSCC and CDC) said that he and a number of Councillors representing the Manhood Peninsula together with CDC officers had met with senior executives from Southern Water to discuss the sewage problems that had been plaguing the area during the recent winter. Notes of that meeting can be found at annex a to these minutes.

Cllr Montyn went on to say that ultra violet systems are to be installed at the Apuldram Treatment Works to improve the water quality exiting the plant.

Cllr Cobbold asked if ground water monitoring was to be carried out on the new developments that had been given the green light.

Cllr Montyn said that the Clappers Lane development had been sent back for traffic impact studies to be carried out to include information up to and including the A27 at Stockbridge Road.

iv)    Other related matters – There were none.

 

113-13 Finance and Corporate:

i)    To receive and approve the financial report.

The Clerk presented the financial reports for the months of February and March (shown at annex b and c). The current balances for March are;

 

Balances held at Bank

£22638.18

Designated Funds

£27318.89

Available Funds

£ (4680.71)

 

 

Creditors

£    437.43

 

 

The Clerk offered to answer any questions that Councillors may have.

 

It was resolved to adopt the Financial Report.

 

ii)   The Clerk again referred to the New Homes Bonus and the benefits that could be obtained for the community should a project that could be supported by the community come forward. There is a sizeable amount of funding that could be bid for amounting to some £13056.00 which should not go unclaimed.

iii)  The Clerk reminded members of the Community Right to Buy Scheme. He said that he had received some suggestions that would not be accepted but some that he felt had a chance.

It was resolved that the Clerk should register the interests of the community against the cricket ground and pavilion, the scout hut, the village store and post office and the Bell public house.

 

114-13 To receive an update on the Neighbourhood Plan –

Mr Barrington said that some good progress on the Plan since he last reported in January. Having gone through a few draft versions of the plan, the most recent version has been presented to Tom Bell, the CDC Neighbourhood Planning Officer for his comments. It has also been reviewed by the Evidence Consultants to check the policies for justification and evidence and their report has now been received.

The Steering Group are meeting on Monday the 24th March, with the Planning Consultant, to discuss the feedback from both parties and we will then make any necessary amendments to the Plan in the light of their comments. It is likely the plan will contain 24 policies and 6 proposals covering all the aspects, which affect our community.

The next step is to present the proposed Neighbourhood Plan to the community. It is a legal requirement that the plan is available for comment by local residents for a period of 6 weeks. The Parish Council will announce when and how this will be available. Included in this consultation process will be another Open Day event, to give residents an opportunity to come along and discuss the Plan and for the SG to gather their feedback.

Following any further revisions as a result of the consultation, the Neighbourhood Plan will then be submitted to CDC and be published for final consultation for a further period of 6 weeks, before submission to an Independent Examiner for their decision to proceed to a referendum, which if all goes according to schedule is likely to be about July.

 

115-13Planning matters including applications and CDC delegated decisions:

 

i)     Planning Applications to be Decided

14/00457/OUT Land South Of Clappers Lane Bracklesham Bay

Erection of 160 residential dwellings, new vehicular access, open space, and other ancillary works.

Birdham Parish Council strongly objects to this application as can be seen from the Councils comments attached at annex d.

 

BI/13/04211/FUL – Premier Marinas Limited Premier Marinas Limited Chichester Marina Birdham

Refurbishment of the external walls with small rear infill to improve the appearance of the existing building. No Obection

 

BI/14/00036/DOM – Mr & Mrs R Phillips Hundred Steddles House Hundredsteddle Lane Birdham

Demolition of existing garden store/garage and erection of new garden store/garage.

Birdham Parish Council raised no objection to this application provided that conditions could be used to ensure that the building is not used for accommodation, that the owner is made aware of and deals with the problem of Japanese knotweed and that a condition is imposed to prevent parking on the very narrow lane both during and after construction.

 

BI/14/00099/DOM – Mr J McGregor Patches Crooked Lane Birdham

Extensions and alterations. No objection

 

BI/13/04137/DOM – Mr & Mrs D Armstrong Cowdry Barn Birdham Road Birdham

Convert single storey triple carport into annex extension with double garage secure extension to existing structure. Birdham Parish Council raised no objection to this application provided that conditions were imposed to prevent the sale of the property independently of the main building, to ensure that the building could not be used as holiday accommodation and that steps are taken to ensure there would be no additional strain placed on the drainage system.

 

BI/14/00123/DOM – Mr Lee Stephenson Glen Iris  Bell Lane Birdham

New side dormer to roof. No objection.

 

BI/14/00044/DOM – Mr Edward Hutson Middle Cottage 2 the Barn Crooked Lane Birdham

Demolish existing single storey rear extension and erect new single storey rear extension with internal ground floor alterations. No objection.

 

BI/14/00408/DOM – Mr & Mrs Oliver Moorings Westlands Estate Birdham

Replacement summerhouse. No objection.

 

It was resolved to authorise the Clerk to forward the decisions of the Parish Council to DC Planning

 

ii)   Delegated Decisions to be noted

BI/13/04080/DOM Mr & Mrs Rumbol Houseboat Living the Dream Chichester Marina Birdham

Extension to houseboat consisting of additional floor for the purpose of garden and gallery/studio. PERMIT

 

The delegated decisions were noted.

 

116-13 Correspondence – Not previously circulated:

           

117-13 Reports:

i)      Play Area and Playing Field. – Nothing to report at this point in time.

ii)     Village Green and Pond – The Clerk said that he had received a telephone call from the Wetlands Officer, Tony Burnand who had suggested that no work should be carried out on the pond until he had the opportunity to bring forward a plan of refurbishment and possible expansion.

iii)    Condition of Village Ditch/Drain Network. – Mr Barrington said that the village had been reasonably lucky the ditch system has just about coped over the wet winter and no properties were seriously affected. Now the rain has abated, it is hoped the dry weather will last to enable the ditches to dry out so the necessary work can be done to improve them. He went on to say that the team had carried out some further mapping of Westlands Lane and Greenacres area.

He said that he also walked the area with the Wetlands Officer and is meeting with him again in a couple of weeks so that an assessment of work can be carried out without impacting on the breeding of the water voles which may be present in certain parts. There is a piece appearing in the forthcoming Parish Newsletter.

Mr Barrington has been trying to get an update from the WSCC Drainage technician of works that still need to be done on roadside gullies and culverts, which are their responsibility. Unfortunately he has been on leave and until his return it is not possible to get the information needed.

A contractor has been instructed to clear the ditch on the main road in front of Walwyn Close and once this is done it is hoped it will be a good example of the standard the village should be striving to achieve.

As previously said riparian owners will be contacted where ditches need attention and contractors have been identified who may be able to carry out work on behalf of owners who are unable to do this themselves.

iv)   Police and Neighbourhood Watch – There was nothing to report.

v)    Communication Working Groups – The Chairman said she expected the next newsletter to be available very shortly.

vi)   Other –            

 

118-13 To receive a report from Cllr Ayton on speeding in and around the Village (Deferred from previous meetings)

          Cllr Ayton reported that he had at last received the information and support from the Police in order that he could report back to the Council.

          The speed check had been carried out on the 18th February from the corner at Old Common Close. It seemed that whilst the perception of speed was high the evidence was to the contrary with northbound traffic averaging at 38.5 mph and southbound 40.6 mph. Of those vehicles checked northbound 4 were exceeding the limit and southbound 5. It was proved that buses were at the top end of the speed limit. It was suggested that speed checks should be carried out on buses and if found to be speeding then they should be reported to their respective companies.

          Cllr Ayton was thanked for his work on the subject.

 

119-13 To receive a report from Cllr Ayton on the situation with the pump in Church Lane.

          Cllr Ayton said that he had no particular report to offer and had asked for this subject to be put on the agenda in order that something might be done to eliminate the need for the pump prior to the onset of the winter to come.

          Cllr Montyn (WSCC) said that he was working on trying to bring a solution to the problem but it was involving rather a lot of people including residents. It was well known that under Op Watershed exploratory work had been carried out and considerable work done in cleaning culverts and pipes. However, in some cases cctv could not be used as the ground is waterlogged. The next stage was to assist those residents of Walwyn Close who are the riparian owners on bringing their culverts and pipes up to standard. This may well require that new pipes are laid which would have to cross private gardens. A meeting of all those involved will happen at some point in the desire that his can lead to both a successful resolution to the problems and the removal of the pump in Church Lane.

 

120-13 Reports of meetings attended by Councillors;

          The Chairman reported that she and Cllr Barker had carried out the annual appraisal of the Clerk.

          Cllr Cobbold had attended the last meeting of the Manhood Peninsula Forum in Selsey and had attended a meeting of the National Flood Forum in London.

          Cllr Ayton had attended a new Councillor training course which had found very useful.

 

106-13 Items for inclusion on the next agenda: CIL Draft feedback

            

107-13 Date of Next Meeting:

             

22nd April 2014 at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall

 

There being no further business to discuss the meeting was declared closed at 8.05pm

 

 

 

 

 

                        Signed ___________________________   Dated ____________________

 

                                                  Chairman

 

 

 

 


 

Annex a

 

Meeting with Southern Water

Held on 24 February 2014 in Steve Carvell’s room, East Pallant House

 

Present:            Jennifer Shaw, Developer Services Manager, Andy Adams, Asset Manager, Stuart Ward, Development Technician – Southern Water

                        Cllrs Pieter Montyn & Peter Clementson, CDC

                        Steve Carvell & Andrew Frost, CDC

 

Foul drainage – network capacity and condition

1.     Steve Carvell (SRC) explained the concerns of local residents and elected Members about the capacity of the foul water network and Southern Water’s performance, especially on the Manhood Peninsula.

2.     Andy Adams (AA) explained that:

a.     in dry weather conditions, foul water capacity is sufficient.

b.     the area network flows are pumped to Sidlesham WWTW.

c.     In times of rainfall, flooding of highways and gardens occurs due to infiltration of foul sewers in low lying areas. Southern Water (SW) recognise that this can cause internal flooding of properties and that this is a serious problem.

d.     The 17 worst areas are being repaired with new dry lining/sealing. He agreed to check whether this included any parts of the Manhood.

3.     Both Pieter Montyn (PM) and Peter Clementson (PC) explained that the infiltration of surface water into foul pipes is the key issue. PM also explained that in wet conditions, water and sewage visibly bubbles up through the manhole cover lifting holes in many locations. He indicated these on a network map with occurrences all the way from Birdham through Itchenor, West Wittering, East Wittering /Bracklesham and Earnley. Residents and the Manhood Peninsula Forum (Via Cllr Graeme Barrett) report flooding incidents but there is no obvious action taken by SW. PC explained that this was an on-going issue that needs to be addressed given the pressure for further development in the area.

4.     AA advised that as SW is not responsible for surface water flooding, a partnership approach is required with WSCC as Local Lead Flood Authority and the Environment Agency. He also outlined the programme of works that has been prioritised and which includes the ‘inherited’ private network. He did not think that this area fell into the prioritised areas but agreed to check and advise. PM reiterated that SW is responsible for the state of its pipe network and associated infiltration. He therefore wished to know what plans there are to CCTV survey and line the network. He also advised that an agreement had just been signed by WSCC with Halcrow (now under new parent name) to produce the Surface Water Management Plan for the Manhood.

5.     SRC outlined the likely Local Plan timescale for submission to the Sec of State and adoption later this year. SW had been consulted and is also represented on the Water Quality Group.

 

Southern Water’s response to drainage consultations

6.     PM expressed concern about the brief form of comments received from SW on planning application consultations. It would be helpful if a representative could attend, e.g. for major developments, to explain SW’s position.  He explained the community perception that Southern Water never object to development proposals and don’t take local concerns into account, e.g. of local flooding incidents.

7.     Jennifer Shaw (JS) advised that she wants to build a dialogue with developers earlier and work more closely with them. She confirmed that where proposals appear controversial, SW would be prepared to meet CDC officers/members; attend Planning Committee meetings and/or other community meetings.

8.     JS explained some of the ways in which SW influence development and secure improved foul drainage infrastructure, e.g. (a) the constraints imposed until recently on the use of the headroom at Apuldram and (b) requirements on developers to upsize existing pipes via the ‘Requisition’ process. SW is also working with developers on temporary solutions in some cases. She emphasised however that SW cannot require developers to remedy existing deficiencies in the network; just that required to enable development to proceed.

 

Community perspective

9.     SRC explained that improved communication with communities on the Manhood is required.  A case in Lavant was a good recent example (re infiltration) but this was not happening on the Manhood.

10.  SRC outlined the pre-application process – then planning application à which leads to a consultation with Southern Water.

11.  JS explained that until detailed drainage plans are prepared by developers responses to CDC are ‘standard’, hence the need for conditions.  She advised that SW would prefer an earlier dialogue with developers but technical discussion often happen after planning permission has been granted.

12.  She advised that legislation is changing under the Water Industry Act in relation to adopting private sewers. In future, developers will have to submit their drainage proposals before they get planning permission.

13.  SRC confirmed that given the need for effective communication, CDC Case Officers would be asked to encourage developers to contact Southern Water earlier in the process.

 

Summerfield Road condition 19: foul drainage.

14.  PM explained that when the original application for housing was considered by the Planning Committee, it was noted that an attenuated system was proposed as required by Southern Water to restrict flow rates. The District Council, Parish Council and local community did not understand therefore why SW now appeared to have allowed the development as built to operate with a gravity fed system.

15.  JS explained that in this case the developer had agreed a connection to the foul network with SW in advance of adoption. SW was unable to refuse connection under the Water Industry Act as planning permission had been granted.   She confirmed that a connection cannot be refused on capacity grounds. She recognised however that the process in this case had not resulted in an acceptable outcome.

16.  AF explained that if a further (retrospective) planning application is submitted, Southern Water will be consulted prior to any decision being made and that the SW response would be particularly pertinent to the decision on the application.

17.  JS confirmed that she would look at the ‘connection’ (S106) and ‘adoption’ (S104) applications again for this site and would recheck the available foul capacity to ensure that SW fully understand the position if a further planning application is submitted.  PM asked when improvements to the network, that would make the as-built drainage scheme, acceptable, would be made. She advised that it was unlikely to be possible to install a holding tank on the site at this stage. She also advised that she would be prepared to attend the Planning Committee on this matter.

 

AOB – Graeme’s Barrett’s note

18.  This showed that there had been population growth in the area between 1978-2010 due to new development (including caravan parks). This had increased the load on Sidlesham WWTW. 

 

 

Agreed:

(a) Southern Water to review the Summerfield Road case and contact AF for meeting (JS).

(b) Southern Water to check whether it has plans for addressing infiltration (lining, patching pipes etc.) on the Manhood Peninsula and advise CDC (AA).

(c) CDC case officers to encourage developers to contact Southern Water earlier in the planning process (AF).

 

 

 

 


 

Annex b

Birdham Parish Council

Financial Statement as at 17th February 2014

£

Bank Accounts as at 31st March 2013

21611.00

Receipts to date

59553.47

Expenditure to date

57157.48

Balance

24006.99

Represented by;

Current Account (Barclays Community A/c)

3131.38

Deposit Account (Barclays Premium Business A/c)

14201.73

National Savings

6673.88

Total

24006.99

Less

Reserve @ 50% of Precept

18463.20

Loan Reserve for half year

8591.04

Outstanding Cheque/s –

102147

194.65

Total

27248.89

Available Funds

-3241.90

Signed

Clerk to the Council

17th February 2014

Payments to be considered

B Geary (Litter Picking)

70.00

Clerks Expenses (Telephone, Postage & Toners)

104.63

AMS Contracting (Hedge & Ditch cutting)

600.00

Total

774.63


Annex c

Birdham Parish Council

Financial Statement as at 16th March 2014

£

Bank Accounts as at 31st March 2013

21611.00

Receipts to date

59556.06

Expenditure to date

58528.88

Balance

22638.18

Represented by;

Current Account (Barclays Community A/c)

5259.98

Deposit Account (Barclays Premium Business A/c)

10704.32

National Savings

6673.88

Total

22638.18

Less

Reserve @ 50% of Precept

18463.20

Loan Reserve for half year

8591.04

Outstanding Cheque/s –

102147

194.65

102154

70.00

Total

27318.89

Available Funds

-4680.71

Signed

Clerk to the Council

17th February 2014

Payments to be considered

B Geary (Litter Picking)

70.00

Clerks Expenses (Telephone)

33.43

Chichester Tree Services

240.00

SSALC Limited

94.00

Total

437.43

 


 

Annex d

Birdham Parish Council response to 14/00457/OUT Land South of Clappers Lane, Bracklesham Bay

 

Birdham Parish Council Objects to this application on the grounds that it is unsustainable, outside of the Bracklesham settlement area, is significantly in excess of FAD guideline housing numbers and conflicts with both CDC retained policies, the 2014-2029 Local Plan and NPPF. The likely negative impact such a poorly situated large scheme will have on social, economic and environmental grounds does not outweigh Chichester District’s shortfall of reserve housing numbers.

We are particularly concerned about the severe impact this development will have on sustainable, non-vehicular traffic on the Manhood peninsula, its impact on vulnerable road-users, including cyclists, walkers, horse-riders, younger and older residents, residents and visitors quality of life and the economy.

 

In Summary

 

Social Impact

 

This development is at the bottom of a peninsula which suffers from significant and well-evidenced traffic problems, has relatively limited public transport, has few job opportunities, and lacks key services including secondary and higher education and training, entertainment facilities etc.

In recent years several of the large employers based in the East Wittering/Bracklesham area, including Earnley Concourse which employed more than 50 local people, have closed. Only this month Cobham, one of the settlement’s largest employers, handed redundancy notices to its entire staff. This particular employer is highlighted by Wates as a potential employer for new residents. This casts doubt on the numerical assumptions for direction of travel for employment made in Wate’s traffic assessment. In order to find employment and further training or education, most residents from the new development will have to commute out of the peninsula. This will worsen the area’s significant congestion issues and cause traffic spillage into rural lanes widely used by cyclists, walkers and horse-riders.

The increase in traffic will also impact the quality of life of residents in Birdham who live adjacent to the B2198 and A286, many of whom have to cross these 40 mph roads in order to access all village facilities and to visit friends and neighbours.

 

Economy

 

Increased vehicles on local roads will also negatively impact the economy of Birdham and the entire western Manhood, particularly its important tourism economy. In a recent Business Survey of Birdham, conducted for the parish’s neighbourhood plan, tourism was confirmed as a major contributor to local business while traffic congestion on the A286 was highlighted by businesses in the parish as a significant problem. Birdham has a fragile local economy that is heavily dependent on its harbour and coastal location and its rural environment, which attracts holiday makers and boat users. 22 of the 33 businesses that responded to the survey are involved in the holiday trade, marine trade or retail horticulture, with 14 out of 33 stating that they benefitted from tourist income. 21 out of 33 businesses commented on heavy traffic congestion in the area being an issue for their business, most notably summer traffic causing delays for customers, staff and deliveries. Comments included ‘customers give up when traffic is very bad’ and ‘summer traffic at peak times causes delays and impairs access to Birdham for customers, deliveries, collecting’. Businesses also observed that congestion at the A27 at peak commuting hours affected employees living outside of Birdham with staff staggering work hours around congestion times. The continued ability of tourists to be able to enjoy the peninsula and travel across it (for example, from Birdham to Medmerry and Bracklesham) on foot, by bike or horse is a key component of the local tourism product. Moreover, while some of the new residents may shop locally, any adverse impact on tourism will have a negative impact on local shops, restaurants, and pubs etc., which rely on the tourism trade.

Significant public and business consultation has been undertaken in recent years to prepare a long-term economic strategy for the Manhood Peninsula. Enhancement of the Manhood’s environment, benefitting from the Medmerry coastal realignment scheme, and the promotion of safe cycle and walking routes (both on and off road) are part of the strategy to regenerate the economy through the increase of stay tourism and the lengthening of the stay visitor season. (See Manhood Peninsula Destination Management Plan, Towards ICZM, both on www.peninsulapartnership.org.uk; VisitChichester; CDC Local Plan 2014-2029). NPPF 17, 19,28,29,  support ‘sustainable growth’ and state that development should ‘not act as an impediment to sustainable growth’, should ‘support sustainable rural tourism,’ and ‘manage patterns of growth to make the fullest possible use of walking and cycling’ and ‘maximise sustainable transport.’

(The Manhood’s work on linking climate change, the environment, flood risk management, planning, tourism and the economy has been financially supported by the EU and Defra, acknowledged by a Minister of the Environment and recognised nationally and internationally in publications and at conferences in the UK and in Europe).

 

 

Environmental Impact

 

The proposed site is located less than 300 metres from the main entrance to the Medmerry realignment scheme. This experimental new coastal habitat scheme is the first and largest open coast realignment scheme in the UK. Medmerry was widely embraced by the local communities, after many years of public consultation, as an opportunity to enhance the environment and regenerate the local economy. Urbanising the fringes of Medmerry would send a confusing message to the public over long-term commitment to habitat creation and climate change mitigation. It is noted that a portion of the proposed development site is in Flood Zone 2 and the continual expansion of small coastal communities such as Bracklesham goes against the advice of Dutch planners and coastal engineers who studied the area, offering strategic long-term planning guidance, in 2001 and 2008. (See Going Dutch I and II). The Medmerry site is a compensatory European Union habitat site and a Potential Special Protection Area and according to NPPF 118 should have the same status as fully-fledged SPA’s. The Manhood Peninsula is bordered by three important EU habitat sites Chichester, Pagham and Medmerry Harbours creating a unique opportunity to satisfy NPPF 114 which promotes the ‘creation and enhancement of networks of biodiversity and green infrastructure’ and ‘maintain the character of the undeveloped coast and improve and enhance public access to and enjoyment of the coast.’

 

The development site also is adjacent to the parish of Earnley, creating coalescence with this historic Conservation Area. The ICZM for the Manhood stresses the importance of maintaining the individual character and distinctiveness of the separate settlements within the peninsula. NPPF 17 states that core planning policies should conserve heritage assets.

 

Traffic Implications

 

Major concerns about traffic on the Manhood Peninsula have been expressed during public consultation over the years, including at the Going Dutch workshops (2001 and 2008) and in the Selsey & East Wittering Visitor Survey 2010. (Cited in Towards ICZM p 25). The last official study of traffic on the Manhood stated that the peninsula’s road structure was inadequate for the amount of traffic now on its roads. (Halcrow, 2002). More recent surveys such as Birdham’s Business Survey suggests that road congestion is starting to impact the local economy, and visitor experience as well as residents’ quality of life. This situation is caused by the area’s peninsula shape with only two major access roads to the A27, a greatly expanded population with no change in the highway network, and very high visitor traffic volumes.

 

More than 500 new homes have already been granted planning permission recently on the Manhood and yet no detailed and cumulative traffic assessment has been undertaken for the peninsula since a study completed by Halcrow in 2002 concluded that the peninsula’s roads had reached capacity and that no further large scale developments could be supported by the local road infrastructure.

 

Traffic impact on residents and visitors

 

The A286 south of Chichester regularly reaches capacity and suffers from severe congestion on sunny days, both during the week and at weekends, from April to October. There are 5000 car parking spaces at West Wittering beach alone as well as hundreds of caravan pitches on the Manhood means that a 30% uplift for holiday traffic is totally unrealistic and inadequate. Figures from West Wittering Car Park show that even non-holiday months such as March, April, May and September can attract thousands of daily visitors. On some days the three-mile journey to and from Birdham to Chichester can take up to two hours, buses also get stuck and taxis refuse to come to Birdham from Chichester on such days. The severe congestion – both seasonal and at peak rush hour – means that local people from Birdham, Earnley, the Witterings and Bracklesham increasingly use the narrow, winding, rural lanes through the centre of the Manhood, north of the Medmerry realignment site, to get on and off the peninsula.

Traffic Impact on Sustainable and Vulnerable Road Users

 

At a recent meeting of Birdham Parish Council, residents attending stated that they now regularly use the back roads on and off the peninsula when congestion on the A286 is bad. This traffic conflicts with the non-vehicular, recreational traffic using these lanes. Any increase in this situation will negatively impact the rural environment of the Manhood, its tourism economy, the social well-being of its residents and cause increasing traffic hazards, particularly to walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. There are half a dozen equestrian businesses located on the lanes to the north of Medmerry as well as many private stables. The Bridleways Association recently estimated a total of 500 horses are kept on the Manhood Peninsula. There are also dozens of campsites in the area, with many visitors choosing to come to the Manhood in order to get out of their cars and walk or cycle in the peninsula.(see Local Visitor Surveys on www.peninsulapartnership.org.uk)

 

 

 

 

Traffic Impact on Social Cohesiveness of Birdham

 

New housing about to be built in Birdham (in excess of the settlement’s allocated housing through to 2029) will result in dozens more families having to cross both the B2198 and A286 in order to access all the village facilities (including schools, shop, recreational ground, church, village hall, etc).

Increased traffic commuting from Bracklesham to Chichester along these roads will, as a result, have a negative impact on Birdham’s social cohesiveness. Traffic congestion already adversely impacts the lives and travel patterns of residents on the Manhood and businesses. (Contrary to NPPF 32, 35 and 37)

 

Traffic Impact on Conservation Areas

 

Traffic to the Clappers Lane development will also impact negatively on the conservation areas of Somerley (part of which lies in Birdham parish and which straddles the B2198) and Earnley, site of the main entrance to Medmerry. The negative impact of traffic on these historic settlements has been noted in CDC’s character assessment of both. (Contrary to NPPF 17)

 

Traffic Impact on sustainable routes to Medmerry

 

Increased traffic on both these roads and on the Sidlesham, Almodington and Batchmere Lanes will impact the ability of Birdham residents and its tourists/visitors to access the Medmerry nature reserve and Bracklesham and East Wittering by foot, cycle or horseback. This is the sort of sustainable transport promoted by NPPF 17, 34, 29 and 35.

 

Traffic Accidents

 

Accident rates on the A286 and B2198, including fatalities, are already high, particularly on the Somerley Bends, where there have been more than 32 accidents causing 46 injuries, including 2 fatalities, along a 200 metre stretch of road since1999. In the last six months alone helicopters have attended two serious accidents on Bell Lane (B2198), including one this month.  

 

Lack of Rigour in Wates Traffic Assessment

 

None of the above traffic implications have been addressed in the Transport Assessment put forward by the developer of the site.

We also question much of the data and assumptions made in the Wates traffic assessment, such as the employment opportunities in East Wittering/Bracklesham and so the direction of traffic from the site; the total number for new housing used to estimate the accumulative impact on the A27 junctions; and the 60/40 split used to estimate the maximum amounts of traffic travelling in any one direction. We also question the car count readings for very heavy congestion in the area– if the traffic is crawling or at a standstill there is a limit to the amount of cars that can physically pass the traffic counters and there are no cameras measuring speed on the A286 south of Donnington.

 

Evidence and Material Planning Documents

 

Chichester District Local Plan 2014-2029

 

To quote from Chichester District Council’s Local Plan for 2014-2029 (consultation completed):

 

The Manhood suffers from ‘poor road accessibility and problems of traffic congestion resulted from the road connections to the north, the junctions with the A27 and the impacts of summer holiday traffic…..bus services are limited in the evening and weekends. These problems of accessibility are further accentuated by the fact that the peninsula relies strongly on Chichester city for employment, shopping, entertainment and other key facilities, which increase the need to travel…(the) local economy is heavily dependent on tourism and horticulture; resulting in relative lack of employment opportunities.’

 

ICZM – Manhood Peninsula

 

As a result of the considerable infrastructure issues on the peninsula and the likely impacts of climate change, a decade-long consultation process with local residents and businesses as well as other statutory and non-statutory stakeholders in the area has resulted in an Integrated Coastal Zone Management strategy for the Manhood. The ICZM document was adopted by Chichester District Council on 20 December 2011 and has been incorporated into the 2014-29 Local Plan. Paragraph 105 of the NPPF states that planning should apply Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

The Manhood’s ICZM document was also given ‘material consideration’ and ‘afforded significant weight’ by a Government Inspector in a major appeal turning down a glasshouse development in nearby Almodington in June 2012 (APP/L3815/A/11/2160759). In refusing the development, the Inspector noted that ‘the Manhood Peninsula is an area that experiences a number of conflicting interests which need to be balanced’. She observed that increased vehicular traffic on lanes north of the Medmerry realignment site would be ‘in conflict’ with pedestrian and other road users and that the ‘rural tranquil character of the lane would be unacceptably diminished to the detriment of the living conditions of nearby properties.’  After walking down Almodington Lane, which, like other lanes in this area is unpavemented and winding, the Inspector stressed that she felt ‘vulnerable.’ If, the residents of the proposed development choose to use these country lanes to the east to avoid the growing congestion on the A286, the danger to non-vehicular road users will increase. The Inspector recognised the popularity of these lanes with walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

 

According to the ICZM, a SWOT analysis of the area recognises the main strengths of the peninsula to be its ‘natural environment, coastal landscapes and opportunities for year round tourism’ and its weaknesses to include poor infrastructure, particularly roads. The document also states that ‘Poor transport links makes access for residents, visitors and the business sector difficult at peak times.’ Meanwhile, opportunities include better provision for horse-riding, cycling and walking. (pp 37, 10 Towards ICZM, see CDC website).

 

According to Towards ICZM the ‘peninsula highway system is little changed from 100 years ago, when it served the agricultural industry….and a much smaller human population. Transport is now therefore a major problem in the area. Traffic congestion southward from Chichester to West Wittering is acute from May through October’ and the fact that the Manhood is a cul-de-sac means getting off the peninsula can be difficult at peak times. ‘Fortunately, locals are able to make use of the back roads across the peninsula,’ the document observes, noting, however, the conflict this situation causes with vulnerable road users (cyclists, pedestrians) in these un-pavemented, windy, narrow lanes.

 

The ICZM notes the negative impact of traffic on visitor experience shown in surveys (p 27) and the need to recognise the ‘congestion on the Manhood, particularly the frequent congestion on the A286 and B2145, and the undesirability of sending large amounts of traffic across the peninsula. The less-used rural roads of the peninsula are perceived as both an asset and a handicap. They are more suitable for cycling and horse-riding than the other roads in the area, which makes them popular with local residents and visitors as a recreational facility and, therefore, a potential asset for the community’s environmental tourism aspirations, new cycle paths and bridleways linking Birdham and Sidlesham and Medmerry via Almodington Lane.’ These roads are also used by vehicular traffic including lorries servicing local horticulture businesses in the area and ‘this is a potential conflict that needs to be carefully considered in future planning strategies.’

 

Towards ICZM states that the Manhood’s economic and social goals can be achieved by ‘recognizing the core qualities of the area’, enhancing ‘the area’s natural assets’ and by ‘recognising the economic importance of tourism and agriculture and enhancing and increasing these products’ , including creating more room for recreational facilities (walking, cycling, horse-riding) and creating Medmerry Harbour as an economic asset. (p 30).

 

A Destination Management Plan (DMP) and Tourism Surveys of the Manhood, commissioned as part of the ICZM, showed that tourism in the Manhood, particularly stay-tourism, represented half of the total tourism economy of Chichester District as a whole. The studies indicated that visitors come to the Manhood because of the area’s rural environment and to ride, cycle and walk and the DMP pointed out that the area has a huge potential to boost its stay visitor economy and lengthen its holiday season, particularly with the habitat and environment creation at Medmerry, the country’s largest coastal realignment scheme, and the suitability of the Manhood for walking, cycling and horse-riding. (Destination Management Plan for the Manhood see www.peninsulapartnership.org.uk).

 

Going Dutch on the Manhood Peninsula 2001

 

Planners and coastal and water management engineers recommended no new permanent development below the 5 m mark and no new development until the road infrastructure had been improved. ‘Roads through the Manhood have become busier, traffic faster and rush hour congestion at the A27 junctions worse. Without integrated planning, promotion of more sustainable forms of transport, such as buses and bikes, recommended by government, will become less and less viable. Already many of the roads in the Manhood are perceived by residents and visitor to be too dangerous for cycling, despite the fact that its confined geographical boundaries and flat landscape would otherwise make it ideally suited for cycling.

The increased level of traffic and housing is also undermining the local tourist and recreation industry.’ (p13)

 

Going Dutch II 2008

 

The Dutch and British planners and coastal water management engineers involved in this workshop, several of whom also attended the 2001 workshop, recommended adopting ICZM, concentrating car traffic on the two main roads and making other roads safe for cycling, the creation of higher rated employment, upgrading recreational facilities, stimulating and upgrading tourism, and marketing the whole peninsula as a tourism product.

 

West Sussex County Council Character Assessment of the Manhood warns of ‘traffic generation resulting in erosion of rural lanes and loss of tranquillity.’

 

Natural England National Character Area Profile: 126 South Coast Plain (NE525) – published 24 February 2014 www.publications.naturalengland.org.uk

This document highlights the importance of the Manhood Peninsula as a ‘Distinct Area’ in the South Coast NCA – as ‘one of the last, and largest, relatively undeveloped stretches of coastline between Newhaven and Southampton.’ It notes that ‘tranquillity is a scarce but greatly prized resource within this heavily urbanized NCA.’

Natural England’s Statements of Environmental Opportunity in this area include ‘improving access to the coast for walking, cycling and disabled people and encouraging reduced car use.’ (SEO 1) and ‘encouraging a strategic approach to the planning of land use (in) the Manhood Peninsula’ ensuring that ‘the tranquil character is retained.’ (SEO2).

 

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) National Map of Tranquil Areas – highlights the Manhood Peninsula as one of the most tranquil areas on the south coast.

 

Birdham Business Survey see www.np4Birdham.co.uk

 

NPPF

 

Paragraphs 7, 8, 9, 14, 17, 19, 28, 29,32,34, 34, 35, 37, 99, 100, 105, 114, 118, 123, 129 152.

 

NPPF states that ‘economic, social and environment gains should be sought jointly and simultaneously’ (NPPF 8) and that ‘pursuing sustainable development involves seeing positive improvements in the quality of the built, natural and historic environment, as well as in people’s quality of life making it easier for jobs to be created, moving from a net loss of biodiversity to achieving net gains for the future and improving the conditions in which people live, work, travel and take leisure.’ (NPPF 9). Birdham Parish Council believes that this development will undermine attempts to regenerate the local economy, increase the biodiversity opportunities of the area and improve the living conditions of both residents and visitors.

 

CDC FAD statement

 

CDC Local Plan 1999, 2014

 

Conclusion:

 

Birdham Parish Council strongly objects to the proposed Clappers Lane development, because of its likely damaging impact on the social cohesiveness, economy and environment (both natural and historic) of Birdham Parish and the wider Manhood. Recent and permitted development already exceeds the area’s allocation for the next 15 years, and has exceeded the capacity of the Manhood’s existing infrastructure (particularly transport) to cope. The Manhood has been identified as an area that can capitalise on its location between three EU habitat sites and its relatively unspoilt environment and tranquillity in a crowded coastline to boost its economy, and the wider economy of the district. However, it is currently at a tipping point, acknowledged by its local community and local and national bodies, requiring planners to recognise that any negative impact on its environment and tourism character could have an irrevocable impact on its existing economy and potential regeneration.