VILLAGERS have again voiced strong objection to a major housing plan.
Local MP Nick Gibb also spoke against plans to build 100 new homes in Yapton.
A planning application for the development, on land to the south of Ford Lane and east of North End Road, was rejected by Arun District Council (ADC).
Developer Strutt & Parker appealed, and a planning inquiry took place at ADC’s offices from Tuesday, July 7 to Friday, July 10.
Both sides put their case forward to government planning inspector David Nicholson and at times more than 30 villagers were present.
Mr Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton has supported residents’ objections since 2013, when the plans were for 250 homes on the site.
In a statement, read out at the inquiry by Mr Gibb’s senior parliamentary assistant Hilary Flynn, Mr Gibb said: “This proposed development of 100 houses on prime agricultural land to the north of Yapton is deeply opposed by residents of the village.
“The proposed site falls outside the Yapton neighbourhood plan.
“A plan accepted by members of the local community, following a referendum on October 23, 2014, three weeks after Arun District Council refused the planning permission for this proposal.”
The Yapton neighbourhood plan makes allocation for 132 new homes at alternative locations in the village.
Andy Faulkner, chairman of the Yapton Neighbourhood Planning Group and former vice-chairman of Yapton Parish Council, was one of six villagers to speak.
He said the overwhelming majority of villagers objected to the long-standing housing plans.
He said: “In Yapton we chose to embrace the opportunity to have a bigger influence on local matters by producing a professional plan following extensive consultation with the local community.
“If this appeal is upheld it will send an extremely negative message to the local community who have given their support throughout the process in the belief that their views will be considered through the policies contained in the neighbourhood plan.”
The inquiry concluded on Friday and a decision is expected in August.
‘AFFORDABLE HOMES ARE NEEDED’
THE proposed development on land at the back of St Mary’s Church in Yapton is a saga which was raged for nearly two years.
If it goes through on appeal, the new houses would have access from Ford Lane.
After a 250-home bid was rejected, a scaled down 100-home outline application was also turned down by Arun District Council in October, 2014.
The site comprises of 3.4 hectares of land, where Strutt & Parker wants to build up to 100 homes along with 1.1 hectares of land for public open space and a further 2.2 hectares for open space and green corridor.
While vehicular access would come from Ford Lane, there would also be pedestrian and cycle access from North End Road.
Up to 30 per cent of the homes would be affordable.
Speaking at the planning inquiry on behalf of the appellant, Graeme Keen said: “The scheme will have minimal impact on the character and visual amenities of the locality, preserve the setting of the church and the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.
“It will provide a high-quality residential development in an extensively landscaped publicly assessable parkland setting that relates well to its surroundings and provides ready access to local services and facilities.”
He added that it addressed Arun District Council’s five-year deficit of affordable housing and would benefit the community.