Angmering villagers sceptical on 600-homes benefits

VILLAGERS seemed far from convinced about the benefits a development of 600 homes at Roundstone Lane could bring for Angmering, when they were shown the masterplan for the scheme on Monday night.

A vision of tree-lined boulevards, a green spine running through the development and a network of streets based around garden city principles was presented to about 100 people attending the Angmering Parish Council meeting.

Developers worked with Arun District Council to draw up the masterplan, setting out the principles guiding any future development, should it clear the hurdles of finally being included in Arun’s local plan and then gaining planning permission.

Charles Addison, an architect who has worked on the masterplan, told the meeting, at Worthing Rugby Club, itself on land covered by the plan, that people not only living in the new development, but those around it, would benefit.

“It will ultimately deliver a really decent place,” he said.

Parish councillor Paul Bicknell was concerned that the only way into and out of the development was from Roundstone Lane. He called on Arun officers to look at the possibility of an exit from the new estate onto the A280 Angmering bypass, and access from the bypass, too, for vehicles travelling north. His suggestion was greeted with applause from villagers.

Steve Mountain, chairman of the parish council, said he had learned just three hours before the meeting, that county highways was prepared to support the principle of a road being built linking the new development to the bypass, but only if someone else paid for it.

Stuart Goodwill, of David Wilson Homes, one of the developers, gave a commitment that they would work out the cost, but warned it would have to compete with education and other infrastructure to be funded by the housing, adding: “It’s not an endless pit of money, as people like to imagine.”

Concerns about the impact on Angmering and its environment were raised by parish councillor Jennie Bos. “Angmering is suffocating between three main roads,” she claimed, with the reduction in clean air resulting from more traffic.

“We will lose the entire ethos of the village,” she warned, calling the development ‘a big mistake’ and adding: “There must be other places in West Sussex where these homes can go.”

Parish councillor Colin Trott said the 200 affordable homes the scheme offered were not needed in Angmering, and Cllr Mountain, who said the figure would actually be 180, said the parish council’s own housing needs survey had established that just 25 such homes were needed in the village.

Asked by Cllr Trott what benefits the masterplan development would deliver for the village, Arun senior planner Cian Cronin said Angmering would gain from the cohesive and coordinated approach it offered, rather than several planning applications coming forward separately. There would also be funding for education and other infrastructure such as road improvements.

Cllr Trott replied: “If you don’t build 600 homes down there, we don’t need a new school and we wouldn’t need these road improvements. The infrastructure deficit is going to be worse.”