Peaceful protest in fight against houses

The protest.
The protest.

A PULBOROUGH campaign group took its fight to protect its village from unwanted development to Chichester last Saturday. A small group from the Campaign to Protect Rural Pulborough Village braved the cold to take part in a demonstration outside developer Hanburys offices.

There, chairman Ben Cooper, dressed as a Roman Centurian gave a speech, before the group marched through the city centre with banners aloft to County Hall, where the chairman gave another speech.

Vice chairman Lorraine Dale said: “Afterwards we marched back through the city centre around the one-way system, so we could spread the message to the wider community. Two of my grandchildren, aged eight and four, also took part and made their own signs saying: ‘Please don’t hurt the animals’ and ‘Don’t hurt the animals behind my grandparent’s house’- referring to the wild life that is under threat by this development.

“People en route took a great interest in our campaign.”

The peaceful protest was being held in Chichester because West Sussex County Council has consistently offered no objections to proposals by Chichester-based Hanbury’s to build 104 homes on a greenfield site north of historic Stane Street in Pulborough.

Campaigners say the proposals would destroy a beautiful area in the village and endanger wildlife there. The site is also on the edge of the Roman Road, Stane Street.

Ben Copper said in Chichester: “We have travelled here to Chichester this morning from Pulborough, along the ancient Roman Road of Stane Street in order to fight for our village and to stand up for the views and opinions of the local residents, who have been subjected to large amounts of development to the point of urbanisation, in recent years.

“They have had to suffer the aftermath of all the issues of traffic, pollution and the failure of any of the so-called community benefits to materialise.

“We have been walked over far too many times now and our rights and democracy have been eroded away further as each new application is made. We, the residents of Pulborough, have been given no consideration time and time again.

“But now the developers have gone a step too far in exploiting our rural village with yet another unwarranted large scale development, which is not needed, as is shown by the fact that at this time, the Oddstones site of 87 dwellings is still under construction, a mere 120 metres away, and the Riverside/Harwood Close development of 146 dwellings built in 2009 still has 30 empty properties.

“That is also located a mere 70 metres away from the latest application site. And now we are here to fight back for our democracy.

“ The developers want to turn a wildlife haven into a sea of concrete, bricks and mortar. So we say to them today ‘hands off our open spaces’, ‘hands off our democracy’ and put the people of Pulborough before profit.”

Outside West Sussex County Council offices, he made a plea for the county council to listen to residents and take on board their personal experiences and knowledge of the situation and stand up for them.

Pulborough residents have lodged a 97 per cent rate of objections to these latest proposals.