CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans for new homes in Angmering have spoken of their bitter disappointment after councillors gave the green light to build 370 homes in the village.
During a special development and control meeting held on Thursday (May 8), Arun district councillors approved three controversial schemes on land by Roundstone Lane, which make up 370 of the 600 homes planned for a ‘garden city’-style development.
Speaking after the meeting, Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert said: “I’ve consistently said Angmering has grown enough in recent years – we already have pressure on local services, and we risk changing a village into an unplanned suburban sprawl with inadequate infrastructure to support it.
“Local people have repeatedly made their opposition to this excessive housing clear, and I’m sorry that once again they’ve been ignored.”
Sue Ware, of Save Angmering Village (SAV) has been fighting the plans for years. She felt Angmering had been betrayed by Arun and argued the move by the council could open the flood gates to some 1,500 new homes being built in the village.
She said: “It’s like the voice of the people of Angmering means absolutely nothing to the council.
“These were the councillors that did nothing to save Angmering. Their decision will forever change the village.”
The trio of plans given the green light comprises 139 homes on land east of Roundstone Lane, 195 properties on the existing West End nursery site and a smaller application for 36 houses at Pound Nursery, also in Roundstone Lane.
Despite protestations by Angmering Parish Council, Angmering’s district councillor, Andy Cooper, Mrs Ware, and several local residents, the committee voted to approve the plans by seven members to three.
For a brief period, it looked as though the councillors would go against Arun officers’ recommendation to approve.
Much of the committee voiced their reluctance to back the plans with a particular sticking point being the future provision of a new primary school in the village.
Money for the school would come from profits made from a ten per cent reduction in affordable housing at the site.
Arun’s cabinet member for planning, councillor Ricky Bower, said he was concerned that there was no cast iron guarantee that the county council would deliver a new primary.
Cllr Joyce Bowyer also shared this view. She said: “I am not happy with the (section) 106. We have got to have a primary school there.”
Cllr Bower made an amendment to the plans, saying that the contribution of cash set aside to build a school will be held by Arun to deliver a new primary in the village.
Arun officers said development would bring ‘significant investment’ into the local economy, with major improvements set to be made to the A259, south of the village, which would become a dual-carriageway.
Mrs Ware said the outcome of Thursday’s meeting now leaves the future of not only Angmering in the balance but of her small group of campaigners, too.
She said that SAV would be having a meeting in the coming weeks to determine how to move forward.
This could mean they would continue their campaign against new housing in the village.
However, the worst case scenario would be that they give up entirely in the efforts and leave the village to its fate.
“It’s unfortunate but that’s just how it is,” she said.