IT WAS picnic with a purpose – to protest against plans by Arun District Council to build homes on green spaces and parking areas at Wick.
More than 30 people joined in the family fun event on Saturday on The Green at Greenfields, one of the sites earmarked by Arun for potential developments, as the local authority seeks to build its first council houses in 20 years.
This was the fourth protest against housing on the greens, and organiser Kimberley Rollason said: “We do use the greens, and we continue to use them. There are other places they can build, so we want them to leave these sorts of greens alone, for us.”
Despite the serious nature of the protest, there was plenty of time for families and other residents to enjoy themselves all afternoon, or tuck into their picnic in the pleasant afternoon sunshine.
Games were organised for children, and for the grown-ups it was an opportunity to make plans to continue the campaign and discuss the reasons why they want to hold onto the open spaces.
It is now six months since councillors backed a proposal to increase Arun’s housing stock by up to 30 new council-owned properties per year in a bid to help address the ‘critical’ shortage of affordable housing by starting to build new council housing again for the first time in two decades.
Initial proposals drawn up with the Hastoe Housing Association and architects were revised following a consultation in December with people living on the Wick estate.
The number and size of homes proposed have been reduced and changes have been made in a bid to reduce the impact on parking spaces.
However, Arun has stated that it hopes to submit a planning application for the homes once environmental and acoustic surveys have been completed. If the plans are approved, building work could start this summer.