Dear Residents,

I hope you are keeping well and have been able to enjoy the summer break (hopefully with some sunshine) with family and friends as restrictions ease and we gradually return to an increased sense of normality. It would appear however that Covid-19 is far from over so please do keep safe during this time and think about and look after those around you.

I follow with my updates locally and from a district wide perspective .

Local Updates:

Churchfields Application, Wisborough Green: To advise the applicant has withdrawn this application. No reason was provided for the withdrawal and so at this stage I do not have any knowledge as to whether a revised application will be submitted in the future, but I will be on hand to represent the views of the community when or if a new application is submitted. In the last months, I have been working alongside the Parish Council to object to it as it was the wish of the majority of residents.

Land south of Townfield, Kirdford: To advise that this application is currently ongoing and expected for determination in early August. I will keep residents updated on this and continue to represent the community who have objected in large numbers to this unsustainable development.

Lagoon 3: Tony Whitty sent an email to Parishes to update on the current progress with the legal team now that enforcement has expired and has agreed to send out a timeframe for this in due course.

On 7th July I attended the Planning Committee meeting and one agenda item was for committee members to note the report on Lagoon 3 https://chichester.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s20422/13.0CrouchlandFarmEnforcementReport.pdf

I also took the opportunity to publicly raise questions that had been sent to me from Kirdford Parish and Plaistow and Ifold Parish. These also represented the questions many residents have raised with me. I felt it important that at this recorded public meeting that the communities’ voices were heard.

CDC Updates:

Local Plan: The CEO, and Leader of the Council, along with Gillian Keegan MP, met with the Minister for Housing to discuss the complex issues facing our Local Plan and to request that we are treated as an exceptional case. The request was not accepted. It was made clear by the Minister that, if CDC believe that the evidence they collect shows that they cannot meet their full housing requirements, then the Local Plan may be submitted for examination on that basis. However, the Inspector assessing CDC’s plan must have evidence that demonstrates, in planning terms, what can and cannot be achieved. This also needs to demonstrate that all available options have been considered.

Meeting with OFWAT: The CEO and the Leader of the Council also attended a meeting with Jonson Cox, the Chairman of OFWAT, in response to the letter that the council sent in late November which was a motion put forward by my group. Representatives from the Environment Agency, Natural England, Chichester Harbour Conservancy and Chichester Harbour Trust also attended. They discussed the declining condition of Chichester Harbour and the problems of nitrates entering the harbour, which have been caused mainly by coastal background and agricultural runoff. They all agreed that they need to work collectively to improve the condition of the Harbour. A second water summit is due to be held in July to formulate an action plan, which will set out short and longer term actions with timescales, and determine which organisation will lead on this project. CDC’s planning policies already require any new development that drains into Chichester Harbour to be Nitrate Neutral. The new Local Plan will also require higher environmental standards to make sure that the Harbour continues to be protected. In the longer term, CDC need to consider looking at creating new habitats and potentially allowing some managed realignment along our coastline to help the Harbour recover. Meetings with the Environment Agency and Coastal Partners have started to take place to consider how CDC can further progress this work.

Customer Service Reception – East Pallant House: For awareness this reopened on Monday 21st June for members of the public to have face to face support.

Local Plan Newsletter: A reminder that the residents can sign up to the Local Plan newsletter to be kept abreast of developments. This can be done via this link www.chichester.gov.uk/localplannewsletter

FREE Trees for Planting in Chichester District: A reminder that, as part of CDC’s DEFRA funded Subsidised Tree Scheme to increase tree planting across the district, free trees are available. Applications can be made by residents, community groups, landowners, schools, parish councils and businesses. People can apply for trees to be planted on their own land, or land owned by someone else provided they have landowner permission. Trees will be offered in bundles of 10 or 20, will be suitable for the soil they will be planted in and will be provided with biodegradable guards and stakes. For further information, see https://www.chichester.gov.uk/treescheme  Applications will close on 1 September 2021, or when all the trees have been allocated.

Surgeries

With the lifting of all restrictions on the 19th July I will be returning after the summer to my regular surgeries. More details on this will follow however I will also be happy to offer online ones for anyone who would rather or needs to socially distance. In the meantime, if you would like to contact me about anything please call me on 07958 918056 or email gbevans@chichester.gov.uk  I am happy to come to you (socially distanced of course) or organise an online meeting/telephone call.