This page covers the fragility of the many aspects of background infrastructure in the Western Manhood Peninsula caused by a political and geographical squeeze. The infrastructure items covered are:

  • Transport
  • Sewerage
  • Flooding
  • Employment
  • Medical and Dental facilities

When we talk about the Western Manhood Peninsula we mean the villages of Birdham, Itchenor, West Wittering, East Wittering, Bracklesham & Earnley.

Central Government demand that Chichester District Council, along with all other councils across the country, produce many hundreds of new “dwellings” every year.  The problem for us CDC residents is that …..

This page covers the fragility of the many aspects of background infrastructure in the Western Manhood Peninsula caused by a political and geographical squeeze. The infrastructure items covered are:

  • Transport
  • Sewerage
  • Flooding
  • Employment
  • Medical and Dental facilities

When we talk about the Western Manhood Peninsula we mean the villages of Birdham, Itchenor, West Wittering, East Wittering, Bracklesham & Earnley.

Central Government demand that Chichester District Council, along with all other councils across the country, produce many hundreds of new “dwellings” every year.  The problem for us CDC residents is that …..

Even with these very real limitations there is no flexibility in the Governments strategy to reduce the new build quantity to a sensible level.

That means that on the Manhood Peninsula there is inordinate and wholly unreasonable pressure on our already groaning infrastructure to support thousands of new houses and a huge increase in population.Each item could have hundreds of pages to describe the issues but the following give the headline points.

Transport

Traffic – One Road

Any slight obstruction from a cyclist to a bin lorry or minor road works causes 20 – 90 car tail backs – any day of the year along the A286.  Emergency services are seriously impacted already and key workers like operating theatre nurses and many others have to double or treble their commute times to ensure being on duty/shift on time.

Developers produce very complex reports from their traffic consultants but these are spurious.  They model specific junctions and calculate trip generations as a result of their individual application.  They also use completely outdated census information. 

For all the clever calculations hardly any of the reports agree and nobody is taking account of the accumulative impact of these developments.  It does not need any science to see the massive problem and damage caused by this by these developments.

Holiday traffic becomes totally gridlocked with motorists standing in the road with engines switched off. Already one fatality has been caused as a direct result of this.

Pressure needs to be brought on Central Government and West Sussex Highways Department to take account of this accumulative effect when acting as consultees on large planning applications.

A key component is/was the Stockbridge Link Road.  This was planned to link the big Tesco roundabout on the A27 to just South of Donnington.  The purpose was to cope with additional traffic brought about by new housing on the Manhood Peninsula.  In July CDC learnt that there was no funding for this link road.  The logical conclusion, therefor, is that the ability to build new houses is reduced to a very few.  Time will tell if this logic is applied by CDC planners.

Sewerage

One sewage works

The Siddlesham treatment plant takes the sewage from the Western Manhood and discharges “treated” effluent into Pagham Harbour.  Southern Water, even after their £91 million fine, claim that the plant has spare capacity.  This is questionable and dodges the real problem; the pipe network to get the sewage to the plant is both inadequate and defective.

Infiltration is a major problem and is the process when ground water seeps into old and leaky pipes so when it rains the treatment plant is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of liquid so they have to discharge raw sewage into Pagham Harbour.

Inadequate capacity of the pipes mean that at several points and on many occasions large multi axle road tankers have to be brought in to pump raw sewage out of the local network and transport it by road to  the Siddlesham treatment plant.

Like all waste water companies the law requires them to connect any development of ten houses or more to their network even if it is already defective but the local planning authority do not have to grant permission.

Flooding

Two main risks

Because of the topography and very close proximity to the sea there are two main flood risks on the Western Manhood Peninsula.  These are Groundwater and Coastal Flooding.

Groundwater flooding is caused by the inability of our fields and ditches to dispel large volumes of water.  This can be seen on the fields every winter and increasingly at other seasons as the climate changes.  As we cover fields with concrete and tarmac so the ability of the ground to absorb excess water is obliterated.  Developers employ “mitigation” devices such as Sustainable Drainage Systems SuDS but these become neglected and such artificial devices are a poor substitute for natural processes.

A huge volume of groundwater is carried away by a very efficient network of ancient ditches and Rythes but these have a finite capacity which is just about used up already.  One of the main exit pipes at East Wittering is completely blocked with shingle.

Coastal Flooding is when the sea breaches any natural or manmade defence arrangements.  This will be covered more in our page on Environment as climate change has a large bearing on this.  Sufficient to say here that there is no specific funding for sea defences and developers regularly refer to CDC’s policy of “holding the line”.  Without a detailed and robustly funded program this is both disingenuous and completely worthless; Such a program does not exist.

General Services

One Medical Facility

There is one medical centre serving the Western Manhood.   It’s a relatively new building and provides an excellent service.  However it is being stretched by the increased population.

In simple terms they could take on another GP who could deal with approximately 1,200 new patients.  With the potential housing increase they would need two maybe three more GPs, but that is only part of the picture.

There are simply not enough medical support services available to back up those GP’s.  Already ambulances really struggle to get through the traffic which exacerbates the Medical Facility issue.  Let’s ensure this great new facility keeps its head above water by stopping mass urbanisation. 

Schools

There are two primary schools that serve the Western Manhood.  One is the West Wittering Parochial CE Primary School seen in the photograph and the other is East Wittering Community Primary School.  One is already at capacity the other is nearing capacity.

There are no secondary schools so pupils have to be transported by bus or car along the only road serving the Western Manhood the A286/B2179.  With the new houses already approved and/or under construction the primary schools will be overwhelmed and journeys off the Peninsula to secondary schools unsustainable.

Dental Facilities

There is one dental practice in the Western Manhood and they are not accepting National Health patients. 

End of story – unless the planners have a solution not yet revealed to us.

Employment

It is estimated that the Western area of the Manhood has lost approximately 400 jobs in the past few years.  This is made up of jobs lost from Cobham in Stocks Lane closed three years ago with the loss of local jobs and the land now used for retirement dwellings. Earnley Concourse, Castle Printers, Blake’s Off Licence, Bramber Nurseries, Southerly -formerly Northshore Yachts, Units at Birdham Pool being converted to holiday accommodation, Royal Oak Public House, Southdown (or Richardson’s’) Holiday Village (now the site of 85 new dwellings under construction, Tudor Catering, Pro-force and others.

This makes the Western Manhood an unsustainable place to build ever more houses as people will have to travel off the Peninsula for work.