Change of sewage condition for 50-home Loxwood development allowed
A councillor has warned that fingers will be pointed if a decision to allow homes to be built in Loxwood before sewage disposal plans are agreed goes wrong.
In August 2020, Chichester District Council’s planning committee gave ‘reluctant’ approval to plans to build 50 homes on land behind Punch Copse Lane.
With concerns raised about the ‘fragile’ state of the sewerage system in the area, a condition was imposed which said no building work could start until disposal plans – including proposals for off-site infrastructure improvements – had been approved.
Sixteen months later and officers supported a call from the applicant, Thakeham Homes Ltd, to change the wording of the condition.
They felt it was ‘unreasonable’ as it essentially left the progress of the development in the hands of a third party, namely Southern Water.
During a meeting of the planning committee last week, members agreed to change the wording to allow the work to go ahead, though no one will be allowed to move into the new homes until the waste water work is completed.
But if Southern Water fails to complete that work within 24 months, ‘interim on-site measures’ for the disposal of sewage will be put in place.
This means that sewage would be taken from the development in tankers.
Tony Colling, of Loxwood Parish Council, told the meeting that a similar ‘interim’ system had been used at the nearby Nursery Green development – and was still in place.
He said: “At times of high rainfall, the system becomes inundated with surface water and tanks fill up quickly and sewage then flows out of the top of the tanks and down the B2133.”
A spokesman for Southern Water, who attended the meeting, told members that a scheme called the Loxwood Growth Scheme had been put in place and was ‘looking to address the issues at the Loxwood nursery site so it can be taken off its interim measure’.
She added that funding had been secured to come up with a ‘preferred solution’ and the matter was in the hands of the engineering design team.
But she was unable to say when that solution would be delivered.
Henry Potter (Con, Goodwood) was not convinced.
He had spoken strongly at previous meetings about the sewerage system in the area and warned: “When things go wrong, people in Loxwood are going to point their fingers at the local planning authority for allowing it in the first place.”