Agenda item

BI/20/02899/FUL Houseboat Water Gypsy, Chichester Marina, Birdham, Chichester, West Sussex

Installation of a replacement houseboat at Berth No. 16 of Chichester Canal.


Refuse (against officer recommendation)


Mr Price presented the item to Members and drew Members’ attention to the Agenda Update Sheet, which confirmed the recommendation to ‘permit’.


The Committee received the following speakers:


Graham Campbell – Parish Council

Jonathan Hogan – Agent


Officers responded to Members’ comment and questions:


With regards to the character of the Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB) Mr Mew responded that the presentation had shown a number of other examples of houseboats, some more traditional and some more contemporary, and Chichester Harbour Conservancy had not objected.  Mr Mew also confirmed that the application was for a replacement houseboat and therefore the requirement for nitrate mitigation did not apply.


In relation to the Birdham Neighbourhood Plan, Mr Mew explained that policy 1 referred to heritage assets and their setting which identified the canal and lock as a heritage asset.  The policy referred to support for the continued presence of houseboats, and that any development must conserve or enhance the heritage asset of the parish.  Mr Whitty added the photographs exhibited in the presentation showed the range of similar developments, and therefore it would be difficult to make the argument that this development was not in character or in keeping with what was already in existence.


In regards to the utilities, Mr Mew confirmed that a specification document had been submitted with the application which was conditioned, and utilities were accessed via a utilities pole.  Mr Mew also confirmed that the plans showed a walkway to the canal side which would be fixed to the boat.  On the matter of use of the land adjacent to the houseboat for any structure, this would require a separate planning application. 


Mr Mew advised that the dimension of the proposed houseboat was 14 metres in length, by 4.3 metres in width, and 3.77 metres tall.  The previous houseboat at this mooring was granted permission in 2013, and was 15 metres in length, and therefore longer, but more narrow, less tall, and was more traditional in appearance.  Mr Mew added that policy 5 of the Neighbourhood Plan in terms of light pollution did carry weight and was in the AONB, but the Chichester Harbour Conservancy had not raised an objection.  The rear of the houseboat, at the position of a balcony above water level, had glazing across the width of the boat with an over-hang, which would assist to mitigate light spillage upwards and glazing on the sides of the houseboat was limited.  Mr Mew also confirmed that there would be sufficient width across the canal for another boat to pass the proposed development.


Mr Whitty advised that Birdham Neighbourhood Plan was not specific in terms of setting any design code, it just sought to preserve and enhance the AONB.  Design was subjective, and there was an existing eclectic mix, it was stated in an AONB that the local authority should not be subjecting personal views on design, and it should be only a matter of whether a development was in character and in keeping.


Mr Barrett proposed that the application was refused on the grounds that it does not enhance the environment within the AONB, contrary to policies 1 and 5 of the Birdham Neighbourhood Plan, which was seconded by Rev Bowden.


In a vote Members agreed the proposal to refuse the application.


Recommendation to refuse the application, against officer recommendation.

Supporting documents: