OUTRAGED villagers in Climping have shown their “disgust” over plans for a 134-pitch caravan site in the village.
The proposals are for an 20¾-acre site on land at Ryebank Farm, in Grevatts Lane.
Now, residents in Climping are taking action in an effort to protect the village’s “unspoilt, natural beauty”.
Fiona Douglas, 55, has lived in Climping Street, with her husband, Mark, 61, for more than nine years. Their home is directly opposite the proposed site.
She said: “I’m alarmed, distressed and pretty darn furious at this development. It’s, quite frankly, outrageous.
“I know it will impact on our quality of life in a huge way. We bought this house specifically to look out over the gorgeous farmland. It’s quiet and tranquil. Now all that could be shattered by this plan.”
She added: “This is the last stretch of undeveloped coastline in this area and I feel it should be protected at all costs.”
Jude Sennitt, 52, who also lives in Climping Street, shared Mrs Douglas’ view and said she would do all she could to contest the application.
She added that there was a lot of concern among villagers about the potential traffic impact on the A259 and warned that the proposed entrance, in Grevatts Lane, was too narrow for large caravans.
Mrs Douglas also claimed that development would be in breach of the Climping Strategic Gap, which was established to protect that stretch of coastline from development.
On Sunday, April 1, more than 400 leaflets were delivered to all the residents in the village, warning them of the application.
As well as the 134 caravan pitches, the application, which has been submitted to Arun District Council, includes a 520m-square toilet block and facilities building.
Applicant James Baird, a farmer and major landowner in Climping, who is also chairman of Climping Parish Council, said the development would help to bolster the economies of the surrounding towns, as well as the village itself.
He said all the investment into towns around the village would be wasted, if no viable tourism facilities were established.
“I have an understanding of the sensitive balance between the needs of agriculture, the environment, the community, the tourist economy and the road networks,” he said. “I know that any form of development in the gap is unwelcome to some locals, but there lies the challenge – balancing the needs of nature, tourism and future generations through work places and income, with those needs of today.”
Mr Baird said the site would be built on land that was currently designated as a brown field site and that it would not infringe on any top grade, agricultural land.
He also claimed that the scheme would allow a sizeable space for planting, screening and habitat creation, and that the site would operate only on a seasonal basis.
A public meeting will be held at Climping Village Hall, today (Thursday, April 5) from 5.30pm, for villagers to air their views on the proposals. People are also being encouraged to send comments on the plans to Arun’s planning department at the Civic Centre, in Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, mentioning the reference number CM/2/!2 and including the writer’s name, address and postcode at the top of the letter.
The deadline for comments is Thursday, April 12.
The planning application can be viewed at www.arun.gov.uk/main.cfm under reference number CM/2/12, and comments can also be made on the website.