The Bosham Association
The Bosham Association

Policy Planning

The distinctive characteristics of Bosham owe much to its rich history which is bound up with its unique location within Chichester Harbour and its relationship to the market and cathedral town of Chichester. In order to preserve and enhance these distinctive features, whilst responding to new challenges of contemporary society, a range of policies have been and continue to be elaborated and adopted.

Amongst them are the following downloadable planning documents:

The Bosham Conservation Area Character Appraisal and associated map cover the historic core of the village around the church, the quay, the millstream and medieval meadows. It was last reviewed in 2013.  CLICK for background information.

The Bosham Village Design Statement This is intended to be helpful to those considering adding to or replacing buildings in the Parish. Guidelines are given for each of a number of character areas throughout the whole parish. It was jointly written by members of the Bosham Association and the Bosham Parish Council and was adopted by the Chichester District Council in December 2011.  
CLICK for background information.

Chichester District Council Local Plan to which other village plans should conform.
This in turn must conform to the National Planning Policy Framework

The Bosham Parish Neighbourhood Plan.‚Äč
 * For full version of Neighbourhood Plan, press link above - select from Submission Documents
*  For full version of Examiner's Report, press link above - select from Examination Documents

Neighbourhood planning is a way for local communities to decide the future of their areas. Successful Neighbourhood Plans will form part of the development plan used by Chichester District Council in determining planning applications. The Localism Act (2011) gave powers to local communities, parish and town councils to produce Neighbourhood Plans. The Neighbourhood Planning Regulations (2012) set out the stages of producing a Neighbourhood Plan.

The Bosham Neighbourhood Plan, together with other supporting documentation, was submitted to, and accepted by, Chichester District Council in accordance with Regulation 16 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012.

All consultation documents were then sent to Janet Cheesley, an Independent Examiner, who published her Report in January 2016. 

The Examiner included in her summary:-
“I have recommended that the housing allocation Policy 2 is deleted.
This is primarily because I do not have robust evidence to clearly indicate that the site selection has regard to the statutory duty to ensure that great weight continues to be given to conserving the landscape and scenic beauty of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which has the highest status of protection.”
 

In conclusion she stated:- 
“my overall conclusion is that subject to my recommendations, the Plan meets the Basic Conditions. I am pleased to recommend that the Bosham Parish Neighbourhood Plan 2014 - 2029, as modified by my recommendations, should proceed to Referendum.”

3rd May 2016 - Dick Pratt, the Association Chairman, commented on probable ramifications of the Neighbourhood Plan as follows:-

Bosham Neighbourhood Plan forced to do the opposite of what villagers had expressly wished.

Bosham Parish Council said in its recent leaflet that “At this stage we cannot state with certainty where the Parish’s requirement for 50 houses will be situated”. They can; because cash-strapped Chichester District Council, fearing legal costs, had advised them that the whole lot will have to go on Highgrove Farm.

How did such a calamitous state of affairs come about and what can be done about it? With the Bosham volunteers, now feeling unable to continue and understandably wishing to hand over the task of allocating sites for housing to the District, the truth is that very little more that can be done. But it is worth revisiting why this disaster has occurred. It has lessons for local public engagement with government and local authorities.

From the outset, the District Plan identified that Bosham’s range of facilities – shops, school, churches, pubs, rail and bus links, surgery, post-office, food outlets merited that we find room for at least 50 extra houses. With 84% of our parish within the AONB and a good portion of the remainder subject to flooding and difficult drainage conditions, speculators’ hope values soared on the remaining land. However, the District also recognised the importance of minimising the chances of continuous urban sprawl between Chichester and Emsworth and set a policy of ‘anti-coalescence’ to prevent this. It was justified on grounds of maintaining the identity of the villages to the west of Chichester. Inevitably, this implied building houses within the AONB. The district plan acknowledged that this would be necessary to support the continued viability of aforementioned services in the AONB villages. The districts’ own Strategic Environmental Assessment found no problem with this approach.

The essence of neighbourhood planning was the involvement of villagers in the scope and priorities of the plan and the final choices of what kind of development should take place and where it should take place. Introducing an official guide to the powers that made neighbourhood planning possible, the Right Honourable Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government wrote:- 
“The Localism Act sets out a series of measures with the potential to achieve a substantial and lasting shift in power away from central government and towards local people. They include: new freedoms and flexibilities for local government; new rights and powers for communities and individuals; reform to make the planning system more democratic and more effective, and reform to ensure that decisions about housing are taken locally.”

Accordingly, the Bosham Parish Neighbourhood Plan team pressed ahead with very full consultations of all householders. For each of six exhibitions approximately 1700 invitation leaflets were delivered door-to-door and most of the exhibitions were staged at both the Village Hall in Walton Lane and in St Nicholas Church Hall in Brooks Lane. Attended by between 100 and 370 people at each exhibition, all were all invited to give comments and make options based upon full planning and environmental information provided by statutory agencies. At the final exhibition (Expo6) people were asked to rank the available sites.
The results were as follows:-

1.           Bullock Barns – SHLAA  BB 08198 -  8 homes
2.           Oakcroft Nursery – SHLAA BB 08194 -  23 homes
3.           Dolphin House -SHLAA BO 08185 -  up to 5 home
4.           Swan Field – SHLAA BB 08197 -  25 homes
5.           Walton Farm – SHLAA BO 1405A -  up to 18 homes
6.           Crede Farm – SHLAA BO08189 - up to 12 homes
7.           French Gardens – SHLAA BB 08196 -  6 hectare site
8.           Highgrove Farm - Option for 50 houses
9.           Green Ltd Field – SHLAA BO 1406 -  up to 11 homes
10.        Highgrove Farm - Option for 100 houses
11.        Highgrove Farm – Option for 200 houses

This echoed the result of the very first exhibition which prioritised avoiding coalescence with neighbouring villages (second most important priority after guarding drainage and avoiding flooding risks). Oakcroft was lost as a housing site when the owner opted to offer it to St Wilfrid’s Hospice, which has now gained planning permission despite technical objections by CDC’s officers. The Highgrove site had been rejected at the Examination into the District-wide Plan.

However, the planning inspector which Chichester DC appointed to look at the Bosham Plan has de facto insisted that all the fifty houses for Bosham go on this site in one single estate. The developers cannot be expected to let it rest at that since at the District Examination they put forward a proposal for upwards of 200. Faced with the kind of financial resources that such developers can throw into a legal battle, the District has sacrificed the essence of the Bosham Plan as originally drafted.

Is this what the government meant when Greg Clark wrote the following?
“We think that the best means of strengthening society is not for central government to try and seize all the power and responsibility for itself. It is to help people and their locally elected representatives to achieve their own ambitions. This is the essence of the Big Society. We have already begun to pass power back to where it belongs. We are cutting central targets on councils, easing the burden of inspection, and reducing red tape. We are breaking down the barriers that stop councils, local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups getting things done for themselves.”

When the Bosham Plan referendum occurs, there may be many who say that this is not what we wanted so we should vote against it. However, without any plan, Bosham would lose out on receipts consequent on building any houses. Such receipts could be used for the benefit of the village to ease parking problems, give us safer crossings and environmental improvements to public areas. We will come to a view nearer the time on what we see as the best course of action but, meanwhile, we think you should write to your MP and District Councilors protesting at the theft or fraud of “Localism”.