The Manhood Peninsula Action Group (MPAG) has expressed concern that the delivery of the Chichester District Council (CDC) Local Plan Review has now been delayed to spring 2021.
There is considerable disquiet about what this will mean when the current plan runs out on July 25, 2020.
A spokesman for MPAG said: “What protection from developers then applying for planning permission to build houses all over the Peninsula can CDC offer to us?
“There is a very real concern about developers being able to ride rough shod over the planning process during this Local Plan interregnum to get their proposals passed in spite of well-founded criticisms due to the overarching policy in the National Planning Guidelines of the ‘presumption of approval’ for applications.
“The pace of building on current housing developments is already building up and we fear that once the lockdown is lifted and things return to normal there will be an increase in new house building applications.
“We feel that now is a time to pause, to find out whether more people will work from home and therefore whether business space will become available for alternative uses – such as conversion to affordable housing.
“Surely this is not the time to rush to build, instead CDC should look at office and business premises that may be freed up. If working practices really are going to change, we should see what opportunities may arise that can help towards the delivery of our challenging housing targets.”
The group says by doing this it will then offer opportunities to innovative local architects to convert business premises into flats and houses.
The spkokesman added: “The result will be that the need to build on our precious greenfield sites is reduced benefitting not only all those threatened by the planned 1,933 new homes on the Manhood Peninsula, but also the wider local area.”