MP lends his might to Wick protesters’ battle

MP Nick Gibb with Karin Ryk, of Stop Council House Building in Wick, during his tour of the estate  D14202351a
MP Nick Gibb with Karin Ryk, of Stop Council House Building in Wick, during his tour of the estate D14202351a

NICK Gibb is adding his political might to the fight against new council houses being built in Wick.

The Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP made the pledge following a visit to the Wick estate on Friday afternoon (May 16).

During his trip to the estate, campaigners from Stop Council House Building in Wick (SCBW) showed the former schools minister areas which they say would be blighted if a development of 23 council homes was built.

They argue that the plans by Arun to build on green space and car parking sites across the estate would lead to overpopulation and urbanisation.

After his tour, Mr Gibb said he would like to use his political power to try and influence the Conservative-run council to change their mind on the scheme.

Mr Gibb said: “When this estate was designed 30 years ago, it was deliberately designed to build a lot of houses in a small space of land but yet to give the impression of space and openness.

“And they have done that brilliantly and this beautiful dog walk is all part of that process.

“If you start filling in here there and everywhere you run the risk – a very big danger – of destroying that original design vision and creating something that really is just one monolithic piece of concrete.

“I think that (SCBW) has made some very good comments and I shall take that back to Arun to make sure these 645 people who signed the petition have their views heard.”

Town and district councillor Mike Northeast said he was hopeful Mr Gibb’s involvement would help improve the situation for the Wick community.

Cllr Northeast said: “The hope is that now we have the MP with us someone in Arun will listen.

“Right now this issue is falling on deaf ears at the council. So I can understand residents’ frustrations.

“Arun need to look and listen and act on what the residents want. This issue is a big one for Arun.”

Arun is seeking to build the first new council houses in the district in 20 years.

Initial proposals drawn up with the Hastoe Housing Association and architects were revised after a consultation in December with Wick estate residents.

If approved by the council, work to build the homes could start as early as this summer.