CONTROVERSIAL plans to build 580 homes a year in Arun were approved by full council amid jeers from a packed public gallery.
But where those homes will go remains unclear, after councillors voted to reconsider the areas previously earmarked for the new housing: Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate, Angmering, and West Bank, Littlehampton (Alex Therrien reports).
Public question time was extended from 15 to 30 minutes because of demand, and much of what was said by council cabinet members was met with hostility from the public.
Ricky Bower, cabinet member for planning and infrastructure, told the meeting, last Wednesday, the council needed to adopt a local plan quickly to give it a firmer position to defend against speculative development in the area.
But it was the number of homes being proposed, 580 per year until 2029, which proved divisive.
In the past, campaigners have argued the proposed housing numbers, based upon Arun’s projected need, were flawed.
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert also claimed Government guidance allowed councils to build below their required housing need if they had insufficient infrastructure, among other reasons.
But Mr Bower said the Government’s Planning Inspectorate had told him it would expect housing targets in Arun similar to its calculated need.
He said Hastings Borough Council, which created a local plan with housing numbers below its allocated need, was an exception to the rule.
Moreover, by adopting a local plan with a lower number of homes, Arun would be at risk of having to take the housing allocation of neighbouring local authorities, he added.
For the full story, read this week’s edition of the Littlehampton Gazette, out from Thursday, January 16.