Arun District Council leader Gillian Brown has described infrastructure works as jigsaws. Poetic? Yes! Relevant? No!
When I last looked at a jigsaw it described accurately many things: how many pieces, the recommended ages of those attempting the jigsaw and a picture on the lid to help.
On the definition of a jigsaw, Arun’s local plan cannot be described as one, despite the leader’s wish that it could be.
The local plan has been in the making for so long, the ability for us jigsaw fans to stay engaged in the process has been exceeded, the original pieces have been lost or vacuumed up and the picture on the lid has been torn up and redrawn too many times to be a reliable guide to its completion.
I have to admit that I have done many jigsaws, however, I do not remember completing a jigsaw with one massive piece, akin to 2,000 houses in Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate on the edge of the Arun district.
Remember, those beautiful pictures on the lid, always a reliable reminder, find the corners, look at the picture and you were off! Always with the nagging doubt that a piece was missing.
Take a picture of the Arun district today and you will observe houses, roads, farmland, and beautiful countryside, glasshouses, flooding, seaside resorts and the South Downs. If you made this picture into a jigsaw, then mixed it up, I dare say it would be easy to complete.
Now comes the challenge... Use the existing picture, add 2,000 homes in Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate, the removal of 350 acres of farmland, add flooding and environmental damage, plus a road to nowhere.
Then leave the district’s brownfields alone and build more houses in Angmering and Littlehampton, oh, sorry and ignore all the parish neighbourhood plans that are key pieces in any local plan jigsaw. Now how does the jigsaw look – recognisable? Sustainable?
It is not too late for the district councillors to return to the drawing board where there is an alternative jigsaw on the shelf. It has brownfields, a new A27, district-central employment and no flooding, seaside resorts, a national park for our visiting holidaymakers, the district’s character and villages retained, our farms producing our food needs – in short, a district jigsaw that makes sense.
If only Arun’s local plan was our jigsaw! As it should be under the Localism Act!
Unfortunately, it is not, it is a deeply unsound, unjustified and a negatively prepared local plan, imagined by Mrs Brown and the minority of her party colleagues as a jigsaw.
Please wake up to the Arun jigsaw nightmare – wrong picture, too many pieces and no real idea on how long to complete.
St Richard’s Road
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