The Chichester Harbour Trust welcomes the announcement by Chichester District Council last week that a five-year land supply for the District has now been secured. We hope this will help protect this vulnerable area from the unprecedented levels of speculative planning applications that we have witnessed in the past year.
We are also pleased to see that the some of the sensitive issues around water quality in the Harbour are being addressed through the new Statement of Common Ground with Southern Water and the Environment Agency, with a new position statement in place for the Thornham waste water treatment works. We are reassured that Macquarie, the new owners of Southern Water, have told us of new immediate improvements to Southern Water plant and equipment, and future expansion plans for water treatment capacity.
Likewise, it is good news that CDC has agreed a five-year funding package for the Strategic Wildlife Corridors project to protect and enhance the crucial links between the coast and South Downs, and is refocusing on brownfield sites.
For the first time, the statement released by CDC last week goes some way to addressing many of the concerns raised by the Chichester Harbour Trust and our partner organisations throughout the Harbour community, and reflects many of the challenges and issues that we have been campaigning on. However, we will be following the progress of the Local Plan to see how these initiatives are executed and translated into action to protect the Harbour.
It is still unclear what level of housing development that the district will need to deliver, and it is becoming increasingly clear to everyone that the 12,500 allocated by Government is completely unsustainable for this heavily-constrained district. It is also vital that the narrow corridor of land between the South Downs National Park and Chichester Harbour AONB is protected. There needs to be a stop to the connection of new developments to the sewage system where there is no capacity.
John Nelson, Chair of the Chichester Harbour Trust, said “We at the Trust, together with our supporters and local communities, will be following closely over the coming period to see that these initiatives translate into a revised Local Plan in July that will reflect the exceptional challenges and needs facing this unique area. We must protect the beauty, biodiversity and water quality of Chichester Harbour and we will be keeping up the pressure to achieve this.”