Our Objections to the West Durrington Development

 

This is a copy of the letter sent to WBC Planning Department by the Goring Gap Preservation Trust, after consultation with Worthing Society, Goring Residents’ Assoication, and the Ilex Conservation Group.


14 November 2001

Mr M Bleakley
Head of Planning
Worthing Borough Council
Portland House, Richmond Road
Worthing BN11 1LF

Dear Mr Bleakley

WB/01/01010/OUT
West Durrington Development

There are three proposals here. These are:

1. Business Park at the top of Titnore Lane
2. Widening of Titnore Lane
3. 800 houses to be built on The Avenue, West Durrington

 

1. Business Park

The siting of the proposed business park is particularly unfortunate. We object to this completely. The siting is without merit.

The clutch of office buildings will be entirely out of place with their surroundings, right in the middle of attractive countryside, and set a precedent to other developers perhaps in Angmering, to build yet more business parks and/or housing in this area. There will be a significant increase in traffic in Titnore Lane. And we note that the estimates in the proposal of traffic generated by the site seem very low.

The proposed path and cycle track across the park of Castle Goring between the business park and the proposed new housing is in our opinion a formula for disaster leading to wholesale damage to the park. This aspect of the proposal should be deleted immediately.

Background:

  • Goring/Ferring Gap is one of 23 strategic gaps promoted by WSCC and is the only one on this stretch of coast which has no houses along the seafront. It serves as a funnel of green between the sea and the downs, with convenient playing fields and open spaces among the houses, along Goring Way and the railway line, which give a view of green from the sea to the downs and from the downs to the sea.
  • 160 breeds of birds are known to nest in the Goring Gap, besides being a valuable rest and feed area for all sorts of other birds.

  • This area up to the A259 main road will be vigorously defended. The area north of the A259 includes Highdown which is National Trust, and the fields and woods up through Patching and Clapham which support the concept, if not the letter, of the strategic gap. We have submitted a proposal that all the area north of the A259 should be included within the boundaries of the South Downs National Park.

The proposed business park will be a physical barrier for the wildlife, and be a visual intrusion to the views from Highdown looking North, and from Patching looking South.

We object very strongly to the Business Park in the proposals.

 

2. Widening of Titnore Lane

We agree that the tight bends at Keepers Cottage should be straightened. But we object to the other proposals for widening the road.

We note that Titnore Lane was renumbered A2700 without telling anyone. The speed limit is currently 60mph. Design speeds of 40 and 60mph have been mentioned. To achieve these between 383 and 563 standard trees, plus all the small growth and associated greenery would be cut down. The proposals state that ‘only’ 150 mature trees would lost. We believe this to be a severe under-estimate. And these are trees which are subject to tree preservation orders.

It is noted that some of the oaks have important lichen growth which is worth protecting.

The character of the lane would be completely changed. The lane runs through ancient woodland which is an SNCI (Site of Natural Conservation Importance). The trees arch over the road presenting a pleasant sylvan appearance. Because of these considerations, in July 1991 the Inspector from the Department of Environment ruled that proposed improvements to the lane would be environmentally damaging.

We note that the Angmering Bypass now under construction was designed to take some of the load off Titnore Lane.

We note in addition, that improvements to Titnore Lane would encourage traffic, and that the traffic is unlikely to keep to the speed limits or designed speeds for the road, each driver going as fast as his personal ‘risk threshold’ will allow. It will be another fast road.

We object to this.

 

3. Houses built on The Avenue, West Durrington

The Avenue is the proposed name for the new road running East from Titnore Lane on which over 800 houses will be built. We object to this whole development. Not least because it would set a precedent for the construction of even more housing in this area in future years.

At the time of the Public Inquiry into the Local Plan, the proposal was for houses to the East of the site. If there were perhaps fewer houses sited on the East, with access from Durrington and perhaps a new access onto the A27 this could be more acceptable. But the new proposed siting is all wrong.

3A. Spoiling the Countryside.

As discussed in Item 1 (Business Park) above, The Avenue would form a major barrier to wildlife, and a visual intrusion from Highdown towards the North and from the Downs towards the South.

3B. Threat to Wildlife and Habitat

We are informed that there will be a threat to Great Crested Newts, a number of scarce birds including the Firecrest, Whinchat,, Cuckoo, Wheatear, Ringousel, Stonechat, Starling and House Sparrow.

The loss of good agricultural land is always unfortunate.

There will be loss of a number of important trees with only about 50% replaced with new planting, which in themselves would take many years to mature.

3C. Traffic

We believe that the estimates in the proposal of traffic generated by the development to be too low. The general experience in Worthing is that houses tend to have at least one, and in many cases, more than one car. These cars will be used because the proposed site is a long way from anywhere, and local facilities are never going to satisfy all the local needs for education, shopping and leisure.

3D. Social and Community Needs

It seems likely that the money set aside for social and community facilities will be used in other parts of Worthing. This would be unfortunate since the local needs will be very pressing.

Durrington has currently a bad reputation for graffiti and vandalism and it seems very likely that this will spill into the new development.

3E. Drainage

In view of the problems during the floods a year ago, we see no prospect of the proposed ‘balancing pond’ solving anything. Keeping the pond empty and ready for sudden storms is going to require a lot of pumping, and when the next heavy rains come, and they will, it is likely that there will again be untreated water into the Rife, and the need for extreme measures to prevent damage to the existing houses downstream.

 

That is the summary of our objections to these proposals.

With Regards
Yours sincerely

Richard Waller
Chairman

 

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