Proposed Affordable Housing – Update June 2020

Land to the rear of 30 to 56 Mill Road

Following extensive public consultation which started in January 2019 Westbourne Community Trust (WCT) submitted a planning application to Chichester District Council at the end of April 2020. You can find all the details of our proposal including the studies carried out on behalf of WCT to support the application by visiting our website and following the link to Chichester District Council’s planning application search page.

We would urge you to support the planning application by commenting directly on Chichester District Council’s website, by emailing or by writing to the Council.

We would like to provide some background about the Trust.  WCT was formed in November 2018.  It is a community land trust which operates on a not for profit basis and it is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority with charitable status.  The FCA also acts as the regulatory body.  The trustees of WCT are local residents, who work on a voluntary basis.  We now have 108 members from the local community. 

During the public examination of Westbourne’s Neighbourhood Plan, the steering group that prepared the plan, was challenged by the Inspector about the lack of provision of affordable housing.  This had proved a challenge for the Steering Group because surveys of Westbourne residents indicated that they wanted houses to be allocated on small sites spread throughout the whole area.  Developers are not required to provide affordable housing on smaller sites and so this approach severely limits the opportunities to secure new affordable housing in the village.

Westbourne Parish Council and the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group were concerned with this situation where a lack of affordable housing makes it very difficult for young people and young families to find a home of their own in the village that they can afford to buy or to rent. This problem is longstanding and frequently results in young people leaving the community they grew up in to find more affordable housing elsewhere. This also affects the age profile of residents in the village and many local jobs can only be filled by workers who travel from outside. 

Faced with the need to provide additional affordable housing while respecting residents’ wishes to build only on small sites, the Steering Group and Westbourne Parish Council set about finding a solution to this problem and encouraged the formation of Westbourne Community Trust as a way of providing local community led affordable housing. This approach has been widely adopted by local rural communities faced with similar problems.  As a starting point a Housing Needs Survey of Westbourne was commissioned and was undertaken by Chichester District Council in late 2018.  This survey found that there was an actual requirement for 46 affordable housing units in Westbourne Parish which was significantly greater than previously understood.

Westbourne Community Trust then started to search for a suitable site and started by examining the work undertaken in the Neighbourhood Plan. 

In total 37 parcels of land within and around the edge of the village were identified as possible development sites but for various reasons they were not suitable, or unavailable to the Trust.  Landowners have been approached but they have not been willing sell to the Trust.  All this work is detailed in the Sequential Test that has been prepared by consultants on behalf of the Trust and submitted with the planning application. The report can be examined in full on the CDC website with our application. 

The site at Mill Road was identified in the work on the Neighbourhood Plan and would have been included in the list of preferred sites for development but at a late stage the land at North Street (now built out as The Shires) was allowed on appeal. This additional site therefore made up the required numbers for the Parish, so the Mill Road site was withdrawn from the list.  The Sequential Test, which considered all possible development opportunities within and around the edge of the village indicated that the Mill Road site was suitable for the development proposed and there were no better alternative sites available to provide new affordable housing for Westbourne.

The details of our scheme include the following;

  • 12 new affordable homes to rent to local people including, two 3-bed homes, four 2-bed homes, six 1-bed homes,
  • appropriate parking space and internal amenity space for those homes
  • parking for the allotments and users of the park
  • new off-street parking spaces on Mill Road to ease parking congestion
  • new play equipment to replace the existing outdated equipment
  • a new multi-use games area (MUGA) to replace the existing sports court
  • replacement of the skatepark
  • a new jogging track around the park
  • a new storage unit to be provided for the allotment association and the parish council
  • new fencing along the boundary to the allotment site
  • a new pedestrian footpath link across the park directly to the Westbourne Primary School playground
  • off-site planting on land to the north of the site
  • A temporary access for construction traffic on land to the north of the site, direct from Foxbury Lane, to avoid congestion in Mill Road

You may have seen a letter objecting to our planning application which raises some important points. We’re happy to address these points and explain our position.

You can see the objection letter here and the response of the Trust here.

The Trust has prepared its planning application with great care and extensive public consultation.  You can examine the detail of this work in the various reports that have been prepared on our behalf by specialist consultants to support the planning application at the link we have provided.  We understand that there will always be some who object to development proposals but our entire approach is based on local need and a desire to make the village a better place to live.

Please support our planning application and send your comments to Chichester DC. You can either do this by using this link or you can write a letter to Chichester District Council, Planning Services, East Pallant House, Chichester, PO19 1TY. quoting the planning application reference number  WE/20/01061/FUL or email directly to