Letter a ‘shock’

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I was shocked to see the letter from Karl Roberts, assistant director of planning for economic regeneration at Arun District Council (Gazette, April 17).

An officer of the council is attempting to give a view on a subject which is still to be voted upon by the district councillors on April 30.

The housing numbers decided upon by the officers and eventually accepted by the council are far too high for the local need.

They only serve to create an unnecessary new town in Eastergate and Barnham, which would be purely a commuter town.

There are no local jobs to support this vast increase in local population.

Mr Roberts believes that, in some magical manner, around 4,500 well paid jobs will suddenly appear in Bognor Regis.

Mr Roberts also then attempts to defend the decision of Arun to target grade one and two agricultural land as the site for the new town.

He then weakly attempts to explain that the council are considering some brownfield land (but not very seriously).

Why would he chose as an example the West Bank at Littlehampton?

This site is so prone to flooding that it is doubtful that any developer would touch it, plus the fact that it is one of the last remaining wilderness places left around Littlehampton and should be designated a protected conservation area.

At a recent meeting of Arun District Council, 38 councillors were asked to look at other possible strategic sites. This followed the rejection of the Eastergate site at a full council meeting in January following the severe winter flooding locally.

They were divided into six groups, and five of the groups chose Ford Airfield as a site worthy of further consideration.

This brownfield site is far more suitable as a site for housing than the West Bank.

He is not correct in his comment that the runways are the only section that is brownfield. There are other old buildings, hangars and the abandoned Top Bloc factory. as well. Ford Parish Council actually wants housing on the brownfield areas now even though they were against the eco town.

The councillors’ choices have since been completely ignored by the controlling group in Arun District Council.

A key aspect of the flawed Arun local plan as we see it is the complete unsuitability of the site they have chosen for the strategic housing of more than 2,000 houses.

This site, between Eastergate and Barnham is partly flood Plain, as well as being a fully working farm on grade one and two agricultural land, which is the best in the country.

They propose covering all this beautiful and valuable land with concrete, tarmac and housing in order to achieve a new road which will only make things worse.

I urge everyone who really cares to write to their local councillor and their MP, expressing their complete lack of confidence in the way that Arun District Council is preparing the local plan.

They should call for the wishes of 38 councillors to be carefully considered before consigning them to the dustbin.

We need a local authority acting in a truly democratic way if such massive changes are being proposed.

Mike Turner

Chairman of the Villages Action Group

Want to share your views? Send your letters by email: letters@littlehamptongazette.co.uk or post to Cannon House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1NA.