Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of the 15th October 2012

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting of the 15th October 2012

Birdham Parish Council


Minutes of the Meeting of the Council

 held on Monday 15th October 2012

at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall


Present:                     Cllr Parks, Cllr Cobbold (Vice Chairman), Cllr Finch (Chairman), Cllr Tilbury, Cllr Grafham and Cllr Barker.

Apologies:                 PCSO R Bainbridge

In attendance:           The Clerk, Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC), Cllr Marshall (CDC) and 44 members of the public.

71-12   Public Question Time in accordance with SO’s 1d -1l:

            A resident asked if the letter referred to in minute 60-12 had been written and if so what was the response?

The Clerk responded that this would be dealt with in agenda item 5ii).

A resident asked if the Council would consider writing to Bellway Homes to determine if an onsite meeting could be arranged to discuss the pumping of flood water into the foul water system, the change to the conditions imposed by CDC and to request that a geo-survey be carried out.

Cllr Tilbury responded that he had asked CDC what the situation was in regard to the latest drainage application and had asked that the application be sent to the Drainage Officer – David Losley. He also said that Bellway Homes had to use straw to prevent the build-up of silt during their pumping operations.

Cllr Cobbold suggested inviting the Environmental Agency and CDC to take part in a site visit in order that they too could see for themselves what the problems were.

72-12               Declaration of Interests:

There were no declarations of interest.

73-12               Approve and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on the 17th September 2012:

It was resolved that the minutes of the 17th September 2012 be signed as a true and accurate record.

 74-12               Land Bequeathed to the council:

The Clerk reported that there was nothing further to report at this time.

 75-12               Clerks’ Report:

i)              WSCC – There was nothing to report.

ii)             CDC – The Clerk reported that he had written as instructed to the Chief Executive, The Executive Director of Environment and the Planning Policy Manager of Chichester District Council requesting a moratorium on all development in Birdham until the completion of the emerging Local Plan and the Parish Neighbourhood Plan.

A response from Mr S Carvell – Executive Director of Environment - had been received saying that the Interim Policy Statement on Housing – Facilitating Appropriate Development had now been updated. In particular Criterion 17 had been amended indicating an upper limit on development numbers. Mr Carvell went on to say that Criterion 17 did not provide for a moratorium on future development.

The Clerk also reported that he had written to CDC requesting information on the implementation of the CIL and what impact would this have on Birdham. A reply had been received confirming, as previously reported, that the CIL had not yet been implemented and was in fact being twin tracked with the Local Plan.

iii)            Other related matters – The Clerk reported that he had received a letter from former Councillor Leach tendering her resignation due to commitments abroad. The Chairman and Councillors expressed their disappointment that Mrs Leach could not continue in the role as a Councillor and asked the Clerk to write to Mrs Leach thanking her for the work that she had carried out during her service on the Parish Council.

iv)           Reports from Members of WSCC/CDC – Cllr Marshall (CDC) reported that he, with other members representing the Manhood Peninsula had met with Officers of CDC to express concerns about the scale of development proposed and the lack of infrastructure available to deal with the development. Councillors were left in no doubt that Central Government are driving housing numbers in their attempt to drive the economic recovery of the country.

Cllr Cobbold asked if CDC had tried to reduce the numbers by working with other councils and in particular the National Park and would it help at all if every resident wrote to their MP to protest at the impact this level of development would have on the Peninsula.

Cllr Marshall said that it may well help.

Cllr Montyn (WSCC & CDC) said that discussion were taking place between CDC and the Highways Department of WSCC to try and eliminate some of the problems being experienced on the highways. It was unsure where the initiatives were coming from but an announcement is to be made on Friday the 19th October concerning the A27.

Cllr Tilbury gave out the address of Mr Tyrie MP.

76-12To receive and approve a financial report:

i)              The Clerk presented the financial statement for the 15th October which showed the following figures and offered to answer questions.

Balances held at Bank: £39207.60
Designated Funds: £25557.04
Available Funds: £13650.56
Creditors: £  2267.07

It was resolved to accept the financial report.

77-12   Update on Neighbourhood Planning:

The Chairman reported that one meeting had been held with another scheduled for the 16th October. Currently the questionnaire, which was to go to every household in the Parish, was the major topic under discussion.

Cllr Cobbold said that a number of the Forums had already met, however, the major concern was that of getting additional people to take an active role. Would those attending this meeting of Council please spread the word and get as many people as possible to come forward.

 78-12   Flooding –Vice Chairman to report:

            Cllr Cobbold said that she had attended the meeting in Selsey that had been organised by the EA. The meeting appointed two independent people from the Peninsula who would sit on a panel to represent the community. The panel would be working to design a brief for the appointment of an independent company to investigate the causes and reasons for the flooding that took place in June of this year. There will be three public meetings at which people will be able to ask questions that are specific to the Medmerry Realignment Scheme.

Cllr Cobbold went on to say that those areas and people who had been affected but not yet reported the extent of the flooding to the EA should do so as a matter of some urgency.

 79-12   To consider the adoption of the New Code of Conduct.

The Clerk reported that he had attended a seminar on the new code of conduct at CDC together with a number of Councillors and Clerks from other Parishes. He had received a copy of the new code which had been adapted to meet the requirements of a Parish Council. The Clerk said that he had also given the document what could be described as the corporate appearance of Birdham Parish Council.

In summing up the Clerk made two recommendation’s that he felt should be considered by the Council;

i)              On page 6 item 6.1b and c should be added after ‘……the matter at the meeting, unless you have applied in writing for dispensation, and whilst the Clerk will be the author of the written dispensation, the granting, or not, of any such dispensation should be by the Clerk in consultation with the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Council.’

ii)             That with the amendment contained in i) above the New Code of Conduct should be adopted by Birdham Parish Council

It was resolved that the recommendation i) should be accepted and implemented.

It was further resolved that subject to the amendments contained in the first resolution that the New Code of Conduct be adopted by Birdham Parish Council

80-12   Planning matters including applications and CDC delegated decisions:

i)              Applications to be decided.

 BI/12/02941/FUL Broomfield, Lock Lane, Birdham

 We note from the Chichester District Council website that a number of clarifications and amendments have been made to this application to which we objected. Our main objection was based on lack of clear indications of the change of scale of the silhouette of the proposed building compared with the present house and certain matters of style and detail. Because of our objection the matter is scheduled to come before the Development Control Committee (South) at its next meeting.

This concern about the silhouette has been satisfied in that the information now provided indicates that the increase in silhouette will be approximately 25% and that this will be mainly at the sides of the building rather than the front elevation facing north onto Lock Lane. The side elevations are largely screened and therefore their intrusion into the landscape will be mitigated. A condition on maintaining the height of this screening would seem to be wise.

We note also that the brick plinth will no longer be white and that the sawn timber cladding will be stained in an oak and not “New England” blue. The proposal is for an off-white finish to the soffits and window frames. We continue to have doubts about the wisdom of white in this setting but assume this will tone down over time. The other finishes are also more muted.

We feel that the basis for our objections has largely been met and therefore now have NO OBJECTION to this application.

BI/12/03593/TPA Rowan Nursery, Bell Lane, Birdham

 Rowan Nursery is divided from Papers Mead by a line of trees forming part of a hedge and a ditch which belongs to Rowan Nursery. Some of the trees are Monterey pines but at the western end they are oak trees. This application has been made by the owner of 18 Pipers Mead who wished to have  tree  marked on the plan as T2 cut back to its previous  pruning points as it is blocking the light to her house and garden.

The tree forms part of the group G2 subject to BI/83/00023/TPO (which does not seem to be on the website). It is quoted as TPO14/BI in the application. It was the subject of a previous application BI/09/01556/TPA when pruning was permitted.

This tree has been subject to a Preservation Order and therefore interference with it should not be undertaken lightly if the visual amenity of the tree and the hedge is not to be severely compromised. The hedge is also a wildlife habitat.

We have viewed the tree which is in good health but we have no report from a qualified expert. The Council has NO OBJECTION to work being carried out by a qualified tree surgeon to the relevant British Standard for the good management of the tree on the advice of the District Council’s Tree Officer.  If the work improves the light to the house and garden that will be a secondary benefit.

BI/12/03763/TPA Rowan Nursery, Bell Lane, Birdham

 This is an application by the owner of the trees forming the boundary with Pipers Mead, referred to in our response today to BI/03593/TPA and is the tree labelled T1 in that application.

The report from All Tree Solutions which accompanies the application describes the tree as in fair condition but recommends for its maintenance two possible courses of action

  •  To reduce the height of the crown by three metres and width by 1.5 metres in order to reduce lever arm and potential exposure to storm damage, or
  • Reduce east stem to below the cavity shown in the accompanying photograph number 2 and reduce the west stem to a corresponding height.

The aim of this work is to balance the tree and maintain it in good health. The Council has NO OBJECTION to this application but would wish to see the two oak trees considered together so that they may continue to form part of a unity in the dividing hedge at this point with a minimum of interference. We would also wish to see any work carried out by a qualified tree surgeon to the relevant British Standard on the advice of the District Council’s Tree Officer.

 BI/12/02769/DOM Saxons, Martins Lane, Birdham

 This is a retrospective application for planning permission to retain two garden sheds, one in a recess to the side of the house behind the front garden on the west side, and the other in the far corner of the garden on the east side.

The property lies within the Birdham SPA and within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was subject to a planning application in 2007 (BI/07/04227/FUL) when the original bungalow on this site was divided in two and extended to form two dwellings. At that time the Parish Council expressed its concern that Saxons would now be very close to the boundary with the neighbouring property and height was an issue as one of the sheds, 1.9 meters high, was in the last pocket of remaining articulation on this elevation which provided little relief otherwise to an intrusive presence into the neighbour’s garden. A similar disquiet was expressed about the shed at the bottom of the garden, 2.2 metres high which would tend to dominate the neighbour’s garden on the other side.

Condition 11 of the permission on this development specifically refers to sheds and says: “no building, shed, greenhouse or other structure shall be erected anywhere on the site without the permission of the Local Authority”. The reason given is loss of amenity. This application seeks to effectively overturn that condition by applying for retrospective planning permission for the sheds.

We are not aware of any change in the circumstances on this site since the condition was put in place and must therefore OBJECT to this application.

BI/12/03403/FUL Saxons, Martins Lane, Birdham

 This is a retrospective application for planning permission to allow the retention of two windows in their current unobscured glazing on the south west elevation of the house.

The property lies within the Birdham SPA and within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was subject to a planning application in 2007 (BI/07/04227/FUL) when the original bungalow on this site was divided in two and extended to form two dwellings. At that time the Parish Council expressed concern at the potential loss of amenity to the neighbours to the south west in that these windows would look straight into their garden and would be close to the curtilage between the two houses. Revised plans were submitted on the 6th September 2007 showing the elevation in question and marked “Windows to have obscure glazing”. Condition 12 of the grant of permission stated that there should be no windows other than those shown on the plans, including the ones shown with obscure glass. The reason given is loss of amenity.

This application seeks effectively to overturn that condition by applying for retrospective permission to retain the clear glass which has been inserted subsequently.

We are unaware of any change in circumstances on this site since the condition was put in place and must therefore OBJECT to this application.

 BI/12/03671/FUL Land north of Mile Cottage, Birdham Road, Birdham

 This is an application to erect five houses with an access road, children’s play area and associated landscaping on land north of Mile Cottage, Birdham Road (A286), Birdham. The site is outside the Birdham SPA and within the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Council wishes to OBJECT to this application.

The application is made with frequent reference to the National Planning Policy Framework (March 2012) and the District Council’s Interim Statement on Housing – Facilitating Appropriate Development, of July 2012. This last document was revised in October 2012 and references in this response are to this revised document. Other documents cited are the Council’s “Statement on the Development [sic] and Disturbance of Birds in Chichester and Langstone Harbour” and on “Planning for Affordable Housing”. It shows the Involvement of Local Interests as “none”, which is clearly confirmed by the references to the Tea Parlour at 1.4 in the Design and Access Statement and in 1.4 and 3.5 of the Transport Impact Survey. The Tea Parlour has not existed for at least ten years.

The NPPF at paragraph 115 says that the protection of the AONB should have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. The Interim Statement at Criterion 2 says that landscape character should be conserved or enhanced in the AONB and there should be no adverse impact. The applicant claims that “the development reflects the character of the area but also creates its context at the edge of the Chichester Harbour AONB”. Not only is the use of English somewhat obscure here but it does seem to be going too far to claim that a housing development in this open position on the edge of the AONB with clear views from adjoining footpaths and the Salterns Way path reflects the open , high quality landscape of the AONB. Heaven knows what “creates its context” means. It seems to be excused by “landscaping”. This seems to miss the point that it is the natural landscape that we wish to conserve, not an artificial landscape.

This development would clearly constitute ribbon development along the A286. One hundred metres north of the development is a retail park constructed on the footprint and using the buildings of the former (Birdham) Common Farm which appears on maps of 1824; it cannot therefore be used as an excuse. The development will also have repercussions for environment and transport which we shall develop later.

The field on which this development is proposed was open landscape until about fifteen years ago when it was sold off as a separate parcel to the present owner after the death of the owner of Broomer Farm. There would be a loss of historic landscape dating back to the seventh century through this development. We also note that this application, for whatever reason, is for less than half of the field but, if permitted, would create a precedent for developing the other half, worsening the ribbon development and the damage to the edge of the AONB. It is interesting to note that the right hand turn inside the entrance to the site would clearly form a link to a parallel development. The present function of this expensive piece of road is apparently to serve two parking spaces and to provide a turning space for emergency vehicles (drawing 103a). The applicant’s claim that the rear garden of one of the properties would prevent further spread is at the least disingenuous and, from the fencing shown on the drawings, wrong.

We are directed in the NPPF to consider the balance of economic, social and environmental factors. On that test alone this application fails as the social benefits of the housing cannot outweigh the environmental damage to the AONB and the loss of Grade 2 agricultural land which, with tourism, forms the basis of the local economy – even if the present owner has shown little interest in his land until it was recently ploughed following incursion by travellers.

Even if the site were acceptable, criterion 10 of the Interim Statement directs that land should be used efficiently and that arbitrary low-density development in order to comply with criterion 17 will not be acceptable. This piece of land is, according to the applicant, 0.4 hectares and following the District Council’s usual density guidelines, could take up to sixteen dwellings. We can only speculate as to the motivation for such profligate use of a scarce resource. We suspect contravention of criterion 12. Chichester District already has an oversupply of four bedroom houses and yet we are offered four more, with only one token three bedroom house. This contravenes criterion 10. (It is a pity – but symptomatic of this application -that point 6.3 is cut off in its prime; we may never know the” although”)

The Interim Statement on the Disturbance of Birds in Chichester Harbour and Langstone Harbour sets out a seven kilometre boundary around Chichester Harbour where special measures must be taken to mitigate the disturbance to birds, and the Solent Forum will report early next year on the area one kilometre back from the Harbour, which will include this site. This proposal reveals its lack of knowledge about birds at Chichester Harbour. Even comparative rarities such as curlews and egrets have been spotted on this site and adjacent land. The applicant’s solution to this is to throw money at them by s106 contributions to dog orders (which will be unenforced and unenforceable) and Harbour Conservancy management. All of this is in contravention of criterion 15.

A similar attitude is taken to the need in Birdham for affordable housing. Twenty per cent of five is one; in what sense, other than financial, is this not a “viable option”? This Council is actively seeking a workable solution to a lack of affordable homes in perpetuity for its considerable housing list.

The Flood Risk Statement is equally inadequate. Flooding is a major issue on the Manhood Peninsula and Birdham has been especially affected. Three dwellings, only eighty metres from this site, were so badly flooded that they have been uninhabitable for six months. The Environment Agency data for Birdham are extremely thin so the Parish carried out its own survey (of which the District Council has a copy) in the winter of 2009 to 2010. The site is not drained by a roadside watercourse: there is a soakaway ditch, blocked in places, along the main road and a poorly maintained ditch running along the south west boundary from Martins Lane to Birdham Road which at one time may have been a flowing ditch but has collapsed at points along its length, especially adjacent to this development. Where it exists, it is full to the top at times of stress. The soil is Brick Earth overlaying London Clay with very slow permeability. Another development site approximately 600 metres to the south west is on its third surface water drainage scheme while still having to pump water off the building site. There is no doubt that, whatever the Environment Agency says, there is there need for a full Flood Risk Assessment on this site.

We now come to Transport and Traffic. The A286 is the only main access and egress road for the western Manhood and handles practically all the traffic for Earnley, Bracklesham, East and West Wittering, West Itchenor and Birdham. A survey at the entrance to Chichester Marina, 1700 metres north of this site, by the URS Corporation in early November 2011 for another planning application, showed that between 7am and 10 am 2355 light vehicles and 18 heavy vehicles used the road. The figures between 4.30pm and 6.30 pm were 2407 light vehicles and 76 heavy vehicles. In the summer those figures are supplemented by tourist traffic which is usually at a standstill or moving at walking pace from 10.30am to 12.30pm and from 4.30pm to 6,30pm past this site on sunny days. All of this contravenes criterion 13. From the mid-nineties to the present, one hundred and three houses with direct egress onto the A286 have been built in Birdham alone; add to this the cumulative effect of developments further down the road in the villages mentioned above and you will understand why local resident know this road is at or beyond capacity already. You take your life in your hands if you cycle on the A286 (criterion 6). The applicant’s consultant’s report that on the morning of 26th April 2012 no pedestrians or cyclists were in the vicinity of the site; we regard this as hardly surprising and it surely undermines the eco-credentials of the applicant’s transport and access statements. The entrance would be close to the junction with Sidlesham Lane, which has an unenviable accident record. So much for car-less accessibility. (The consultants also appear to have missed the bus stop opposite Sidlesham Lane).  The turn out onto the A286 will be difficult and was highlighted by the critique by the Traffic Safety Consultant of the applicant’s original Traffic Statement. We  doubt that fiddling with the centre line of  the bellmouth and the white central roadway hatching (which is only 1.18m wide according to the drawing)  will solve this problem. When the travellers recently left the site their cars and vans brought the road to a standstill. We are of the view that any additional load on the A286 implies improvement in the road infrastructure (criterion 13) and that WSCC Highways’ approach to these problems is based on a flawed methodology which deals with each application separately and fails to take account of the cumulative effect of developments on the west Manhood.

From the plans and elevations we believe that we are offered designs which have brick ground floors and weather-boarded first floors. At no point is any indication given of materials or colour palette, both of which would be of extreme importance in assessing the quality of the proposal (criteria 2 and 8)  and we would be looking for strict adherence to the Chichester Harbour Conservancy’s design Guidelines.

The impression given is of an application prepared in haste on the assumption that this is an opportunity to drive through something otherwise unacceptable. For the reasons stated above we have no option but to OBJECT.

It was resolved to instruct the Clerk to inform CDC Planning Department of the Council’s decisions.

ii)            Delegated Decisions to be noted

BI/12/03280/TPA Mr Richard Wheeler 23 Longmeadow Gardens Birdham

Crown reduce by 35% on 1 no. Black Poplar tree (T5) subject to BI/97/00036/TPO. PERMIT

BI/12/03284/TPA Mr Steve Fernback Church Lodge Church Lane Birdham

Fell 1 no. Horse Chestnut tree (T2) subject to BI/04/00041/TPO. PERMIT

 It was resolved to note the decisions made by CDC Planning

iii)        Housing Numbers.

To determine and respond to the document issued by CDC - Chichester District Local Plan – Parish Housing Numbers Consultation.

 Cllr Cobbold had prepared a paper that the Chairman asked her to read and is re-produced as under;

Birdham is a compact, medium sized, attractive harbour village that has in the past developed in a measured way to sustain but not overload its amenities and ensuring that most homes are in close vicinity of the village facilities.

In recent years, however, residents have become increasingly concerned about the threat of over-development and inadequate and failing infrastructure in the area. Flooding, drainage and transport are considered by residents to be major constraining factors in the future development of Birdham and other settlements in the Manhood Peninsula. There is also an overriding fear that excessive incremental development of a suburban nature is degrading our environment and, consequently, will impact our tourism industry. Tourism has been identified in recent surveys as the Manhood’s main economy and one that underpins the tourism economy of the entire Chichester District.

However, Birdham residents recognise that some growth of any settlement is necessary to ensure continued sustainability and, as a result, have begun to prepare a neighbourhood plan. This process is bringing residents and businesses together in a constructive manner to create a long-term, integrated and sustainable strategy for the future of the village. It is hoped that CDC will recognise this and not encourage premature over-development that will make our democratic efforts meaningless.

Question One

  1. Are there any specific factors that we should know about that would prevent you from achieving our proposed minimum figure for your parish over the period to 2029?
  •  Village layout and proximity to Chichester Harbour.  One of the most attractive and sustainable aspects of Birdham is its compact layout and its harbour-side location. The village – and all of its amenities - essentially lies between the A286 and the harbour. Currently, most homes are within easy, and safe, walking distance of the shop, school, church, village hall and recreation ground. However, its location also means that the village is surrounded to the north, west and east by Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an obvious constraint to its development. Meanwhile, any development south of the A286 would be in danger of creating ribbon development and possible coalescence with the conservation area and neighbouring settlement of Somerley. Any development south of the A286 also would require the construction of a formal crossing on the Birdham Straight in order for people to safely access amenities including the school and village hall. The A286 is the only road serving the western side of the peninsula and is constantly busy with a 40 mph speed limit along the entire southern perimeter of Birdham. The parish would also wish to avoid any development that might threaten the viability of important business sectors in the community such our marine related industry, nursery centres, campsites etc.
  • Flooding. Flooding and inadequate drainage has become an increasing concern for residents during the last decade. Indeed, such has been the level of local concern regarding flooding over the years that Birdham was one of the first communities in Chichester District to undertake a drainage survey. That survey indicated that drainage and flooding is a severe problem in many areas of the parish, a fact that has been highlighted by the long-standing and not yet resolved drainage issues relating to two recent building developments in the village (Longmeadow and Pipers Mead). Indeed Posford Haskoning who undertook an extensive drainage survey of the entire Manhood, commissioned by the Manhood Peninsula Partnership, highlighted Bell Lane of Birdham Parish (B2198) as one of two areas in which they were unable to identify any runoff drainage infrastructure or determine which way runoff water went. During the last few years an increasing number of properties in and adjacent to Birdham have flooded, and this year several dozen properties in the Birdham Parish suffered extensive flooding, forcing families to have to vacate their properties for refurbishment.  In June 2012 many homes throughout the main part of the village and along Bell Lane suffered severe flooding with some families unlikely to move back into their properties before 2013. The village has also suffered from sewage difficulties with mains drainage backing up during heavy rainfall. Failure of old main drains in both West and East Wittering also has resulted in raw sewage having to be extracted and taken by truck to Sidlesham sewage works on several occasions during the last year.
  • Economy. Another constraining factor lies with our economy. As the document Towards ICZM points out, tourism is the principle economy of the Manhood, with horticulture and agriculture also important contributors. Both Towards ICZM (accepted by CDC as a material planning document) and the Manhood Peninsula Destination Management Plan (prepared by representatives of the local business and residential community and the local authorities and major landowners) provide evidence that the tourism industry in the Manhood is linked very closely to its environmental character. Both strategic planning documents also point out the potential of the Medmerry Managed Realignment to allow the Manhood to enhance the value of its environmental tourism product. As the CPRE pointed out to the Planning Inspector at the Madestein Glasshouse Planning Appeal, the environment and tranquil nature of the Manhood Peninsula makes it a ‘jewel in the crown’ along the crowded Sussex and Hampshire coastal plain and an important environmental and economic asset for the district. This is very much the case for Birdham, a rural and harbour side village that is home to several important businesses sectors that both rely on and support the local tourist economy, including retail nurseries, campsites and bed and breakfasts and two marinas and their associated businesses. Our environment is very much a key part of the entire tourist economy and that should be recognised in the Local Development Plan. As such we would seek to avoid any further encroachment of the AONB as well as ribbon and overly suburban development and any development that threatens the local economy.
  • Transport /Accessibility. This is a very real – and growing - concern for Birdham residents and one that all parishes on the western side of the Manhood Peninsula think is not adequately recognised by CDC and WSCC. On MANY days during the year, both during the week and at weekends, between April and October the A286 becomes so congested that it is almost at a standstill due to visitor and residential traffic. The local authorities seem to think our traffic concerns are centred on queuing at junctions onto the A27. However, it is frequent ‘standstill’ traffic along the length of the A286 south of Chichester that is far more debilitating for local residents and businesses. As a result of the traffic situation locals are forced to plan their travel carefully, often avoiding journeys south from Chichester between 10 am to 2pm and north to Chichester between 4pm and 7pm on sunny days. Although locals can use the back roads during these long periods of almost stationary traffic, this is not an option for delivery lorries or public transport users. Buses are often trapped on the road for two hours or more. Anyone needing to travel by bus either to get home or go to work/hospital/visit somewhere during these periods face journey times of up to two hours to travel just three or four miles. This is an increasingly serious issue for both local businesses and residents and outgoing and incoming workers, particular poorer paid shift workers reliant on public transport, including carers.

We are not necessarily looking to CDC or WSCC to solve the seasonal congestion on the A286 as we do not wish to discourage tourism, because of its importance to our economy. But we do want the local authorities to recognise that it is a serious constraining factor to further development in the area. The proposed numbers for the Local Plan Core Strategy for West Wittering, Birdham, East Wittering and Donnington would mean up to 900 additional homes needing to use the A286 daily. We believe this number is not viable and cannot be considered in the Plan until CDC has undertaken sufficient monitoring of seasonal traffic use on the A286 to provide evidence to show it is sustainable or to provide an effective solution to the problem.

  • Employment – Commuting in and out of the peninsula is becoming increasingly problematic. While on the peninsula much of the employment, directly and indirectly is related to tourism, which could be adversely impacted by overdevelopment, as most tourists stay in the area because it is the only relatively undeveloped stretch of coastline in Sussex and Hampshire. We believe that an excess of residential development on a low-lying, cul-de-sac peninsula, with its severe drainage and transport issues, is only sustainable if there are sufficient jobs on the peninsula to absorb the increased population. We would wish to see evidence that this is the case.

To conclude: We contend that excessive development on the Manhood Peninsula could have a material adverse impact on our environment, and our economy and, in light of the severe existing drainage and transport problems, our social well-being and would not be in accordance with the economic, social and environmental balance sought by the NPPF. It would also not be in keeping with the towards ICZM framework for the future of the peninsula drawn up by residents, businesses and representatives of the local authorities.

2 - Do you consider that our proposed maximum figure is a realistic upper limit for new housing in your parish over the period to 2029?

The considerable constraints listed above and the severity of their impact on residents’ well-being (particularly the constraints relating to flooding and transport/accessibility) and on the local economy, together with the amount of housing development currently in progress in the village, means that considerable spend on infrastructure would be needed to enable the village to meet the upper limit.

3 - Are there any sites or general locations within the parish that you consider could be suitable for future housing development?

In order for the Neighbourhood Plan to be a democratic and worthwhile process that can only be determined after the plan has been completed and voted on by parishioners.

4 - Are there any issues relating to the timing of future development that you wish to highlight?

We would not wish to see any major development until:

  • The Neighbour Plan is complete.
  • The flooding/drainage issues of the parish have been properly addressed and mitigated.
  • Our accessibility issues have been recognised and addressed by the local authorities.
  • Formal crossings are provided on the A286 and/or Bell Lane if new housing is located south of the main village.

In light of the numbers of houses recently constructed and in the process of being constructed in the village, and to prevent too much strain on local facilities, such as the school, we would expect development to be spread over the length of the plan rather than front-loaded.

5 - Are there any specific improvements or facilities that the community would like to see provided as a result of the development?

See earlier responses.

6 - Is your community likely to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan?

Yes we have already begun the process.

A short debate followed led by Cllr Tilbury who said that a number of ‘windfall sites’ he felt should have been included had in fact been excluded from the figures given for Birdham. He also felt that Birdham should push as hard as possible for the lower figure rather than the higher number of units proposed. In closing Cllr Tilbury quoted from the last paragraph of a letter from Nick Boles MP to Andrew Tyrie MP dated October 2012 in which Mr Boles stated ‘The cumulative impacts of development, alongside the impact of development on the local amenity are capable of being material considerations in determining the appropriateness of development.’

It was resolved to adopt the proposed response to the Parish Housing Numbers questionnaire and that the Clerk be authorised to submit the response with amendments to CDC Planning by the deadline of 2nd November and to publish the response on the Parish Council’s website.

81-12   Correspondence – Not previously circulated:

The Clerk reported that he received the following;

i)              The autumn edition of the magazine ‘Parish Matters’ published by the Councils insurers Came and Company.

82-12 Reports:

i)      Play area and playing field – There was nothing to report.

ii)      Village Green and Pond – There was nothing to report.

iii)     Police and Neighbourhood Watch – In giving her apologies PCSO Bainbridge asked that her emailed report be read out which was done and for completeness is included as annex a to these minutes.

iv)     Communications/Parish Newsletter/Website – Cllr Finch said a meeting had been held during the previous week to determine what assistance could be given to the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and the various Forums.

v)      Other – There was nothing to report.

83-12   Reports from Councillors attending meetings:

Cllr Tilbury reported that he, Cllr Parks and the Clerk had met with Greg Ockwell of WSCC in connection with the School Travel Plan. It had been proposed that travel plan should be the subject of three separate parts. The first being walking, the second a safe route from Church Road and the third a 20mph speed limit.

Mr Ockwell presented outline plans for an extension to the Village Hall car park which would require the agreement of both the Parish Council and Hall Trustees. The Car park would be extended into the playing field to the right hand side of the hall and be formed from ‘grasscrete’. This would provide for a 50% increase in parking. The Nursery welcomes this idea and does not see the extension as a problem. Drawings will be produced by consultants in order that the idea can go out to public consultation.

The second part of the plan was to create a footpath from Church Road to Claytons Corner. This has been ruled out as a non-starter due to cost and engineering problems associated with flooding in that area. An alternative route is actively being sought by WSCC.

The third part of the plan will be a village consultation on a 20mph speed limit.

It is hoped that all being well the travel plan could be in place sometime in 2013.

A Resident expressed annoyance at the profligate use of taxpayers’ money in using a consultant to produce plans for a car park.

84-12   Items for inclusion in the next meeting:

            Update on the Neighbourhood Plan (NP)

School Travel Plan

85-12   Dates of Next Meeting:


19th November 2012 at 7pm in Birdham Village Hall

There being no further business to discuss the meeting closed at 9.10pm





Signed ___________________________   Dated ____________________





Annex A


Report by PCSO R Bainbridge as presented to the Parish Council Meeting of the 15th October 2012


As per my previous email, I am on rest days so please accept my apologies for tonight's parish council meeting.

I have met the new head of Birdham Primary School who has asked me to do some patrols outside the school before and after school which I have done.
There are still some parking issues around the school entrance and I hope my presence will have some impact on this.  I am currently doing a poster in conjunction with the children of East Wittering primary school regarding parking issues as part of the EW NMP and might be able to use the winning poster to place around Birdham School.

There have been a couple of marine thefts from the Westlands boat house and my colleague PCSO Sam Treagust, spoke at a meeting of their residents group on Friday (I was otherwise committed) regarding security advice and contacting us etc.  We continue to link in closely with the Harbour Conservancy and Chichester Marina.  Late night Police patrolling has been increased and investigations regarding marine thefts are proceeding well with some positive results toward catching the culprits.

I have been sorting out two neighbourhood disputes in Birdham which hopefully will be resolved by now and have been in close contact with the NHW area co-ordinator who lives in Martins Lane.  Security advice contines to be given.  At the last Neighbourhood Panel Meeting which includes Birdham, our priorities of speeding and burglary remain with a new one now of advising Elderly of security issues ie Cold Callers, Rogue Traders and general security and I am currently working on this.  We have a new PCSO starting at Selsey on 22nd October.  I continue to cover this area, but of course more numbers mean more coverage when we are on days off/leave etc.

Linking in with the Birdham youths, a group of keen footballers tell me they have a team of 12 regular players and wonder if they can join a local league.  I thought I would ask you in the first instance if you think this would be possible.  I realise they have no formal changing facilities and wonder if this may be a major issue for them.  Can you advise please?  They are aged 17 - 25 yrs.  We do not have a major issue with anti-social behaviour at this time, although one resident has asked if the street light near the playground can be turned off late at night to deter youths sitting in the park late at night.  Although this is near a junction, there is another street light a few yards away in Chaffer Lane, so I wonder what the PC thought of this?

I have a new venue for my Meet Me In Person.  The Wittering Medical Centre, third Thursday of the month at 11:00 - 11:30 am (just inside the door).  This will be this Thursday and I will have posters for residents to place in their windows regarding Halloween if they would like one (or two).

Finally, also this Thursday (18th October) at Bracklesham Barn from 14:30 - 16:30, there will be bike marking for anyone who would like to have this done.  I can also security mark other items and if anyone would like this done, just call me on 101 or my mobile number.