DEVELOPERS are still a long way from putting together a masterplan for large-scale housing in Angmering, according to the only councillor who attended a behind-closed-doors summit.
Andy Cooper, a Conservative member of Arun District Council for the village, admitted he was surprised by the lack of consensus among the housebuilders at Wednesday’s meeting, at the Arun Civic Centre, Littlehampton.
Angmering’s two other Arun councillors, Paul Bicknell and Dudley Wensley, both stayed away from the talks, which also involved senior Arun planning officers. Rob Martin, clerk of Angmering Parish Council, attended as an observer, but no parish councillors were present.
An email inviting people to the meeting suggested initial discussions should be held on payments for the infrastructure needed to support up to 600 new homes east of Roundstone Lane.
Cllr Cooper told the Gazette on Tuesday: “I was there purely as an observer, and not in any way to negotiate. In all honesty, it was not about that, it was about understanding what the various parties are trying to achieve, and about trying to get consensus among the four developers who are interested in Angmering.
“What surprised me more than anything was the lack of that consensus. It was clear they had not discussed among themselves who would be delivering what improvements if such a development was to go ahead.
“What was quite apparent was that the rugby club is further behind than the others. They don’t have another site to go to at this stage.
“Some of the other developers are a lot further forward and are waiting for things to move on. This meeting was really for all the developers to come together with something for Arun – a masterplan – but they are nowhere near ready – that’s the real be all and end all.
“They have a lot of work ahead if they are going to come up with that masterplan – the garden city or village idea seems a long way off.”
In his election campaign material and since gaining his seat on Arun, Cllr Cooper has insisted he was against unsustainable development in the village. However, if hundreds of homes were ultimately approved, he pointed out that a co-ordinated approach would be better than uncontrolled development offering little or nothing to benefit Angmering.
“To have a joined-up development would be better for the people of Angmering in the long run. The infrastructure needs of the village, whether a new primary school or sports facilities, should be paramount if that is going to go ahead.
“It has to be right for the people and right for the village”