‘WE ARE silent but powerful’ – the words chanted outside Arun District Council’s headquarters by protesters fighting plans they claim could transform Wick into an ‘urban ghetto’.
More than 40 people, carrying plaques, banners and signs, marched on the Civic Centre, in Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, in an effort to combat proposals to build 23 council houses on green space and car parking areas in Wick.
The plans by Arun have been criticised by the Wick community, with residents claiming the new homes would lead to overpopulation and urbanisation.
The demonstration, lasted for more than an hour on Wednesday (March 5).
Kimberley Rollason was one of those responsible for organising the demonstration.
She said: “We’re not happy with some of the choices the council has come up with on where it wants to build.
“They should listen to us. We are the ones who live there. There are other places to build.
“We do need houses – I’m not saying we don’t – but don’t take green spaces away from children where they can play.”
The plans, which have not yet been formally submitted by Arun, would see a cluster of five small-scale developments of one and two-bedroom homes built at the north-end of the Wick estate, near Joyce Close and Greenfields.
Mrs Rollason said the plan could also have an impact on disabled people in Wick.
She claimed that alleyways in the neighbourhood, between the new homes, could be too narrow for people in mobile scooters or wheelchairs to pass through.
During a full council meeting after the demonstration, Arun’s cabinet member for housing councillor Roger Elkins said ‘careful consideration’ had been given to the plan and that all homes will be built to a ‘very high standard’.
He explained the Wick site had a density of between 20 and 35 dwelling per hectare, while housing sites elsewhere had densities up to 45 or 50 homes per hectare. “All new housing will comply with access for the disabled. It’s a statutory requirement and we would want to ensure we meet that criteria,” he added.
Arun’s head of housing, Brian Pople, said the scheme would make a big difference in alleviating the growing numbers of people on the waiting list for council homes.