I am of a vintage when nothing particularly surprises me, but the decision of Arun District Council’s development control committee, regarding the application for infill housing in Wick, has proved an exception.
It has been recognised by almost all interested parties that this particular area of Wick is one in which there is a disproportionately high level of social deprivation and as such many initiatives to improve the situation have been tried over a number of years. Some have been more successful than others but the overall situation remains broadly the same.
What has impressed of late is the collective attempts by some of the residents to campaign for improvements, only to be met with a wall of indifference and complete lack of sympathy for the situation facing those residents.
Chief among those closed minds at the committee meeting was councillor Ricky Bower. He was ‘vehemently’ opposed to the demolition of a property and a subsequent rebuild on the Kingston Gorse estate because he believed it had the potential to constitute an invasion of privacy. However, he was ‘outraged’ that Wick residents felt that the building of 22 houses on a small pocket of green space and residents’ car parking areas, among a concentration of already fully developed housing, could be seen as over-development.
What consideration to obliterating a social recreation area, reducing access, depleting parking and creating the need for acoustic barriers to reduce noise pollution could possibly be other than an intrusion of privacy and an outrage to residents who have worked tirelessly to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime and improve the quality of life for local people?
I am left to wonder where Mr Bower lives. It is certainly not on the Wick estate.
It could be said by some that proper consultation has taken place. If that means not taking on board valid and sensible arguments but ploughing on regardless with the building of those houses because a decision has already been taken, then consultation becomes purely a semantic, and not a democratic exercise.
East Ham Road
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