Arun defends scheme snub as neighbours gain £38.5m

James Walsh has criticised Arun's decision
James Walsh has criticised Arun's decision

Declining to adopt a policy which could have gained Arun District Council millions of pounds from developers was ‘indefensible’, a councillor has claimed.

Every other authority in West Sussex adopted the county council’s Total Access Demand (TAD) scheme, securing £38.5million of infrastructure improvements since adoption in 2003.

Arun has issued a statement in its defence –12 days after comment was first sought.

Criticising Arun’s original decision, Liberal Democrat town, district and county councillor Dr James Walsh said: “I think they are trying in hindsight to defend an indefensible decision.

“I guess they thought at the time it wouldn’t produce much but the evidence is it produces up to £13.7million (Horsham’s benefit) over the period.”

TAD contributions are calculated based on a development’s parking provision – with each vehicle adding to the pressure on the roads.

County council cabinet member for highways and transport Bob Lanzer told Dr Walsh that the scheme was adopted to mitigate the wider impacts of a development.

Through the Section 106 process, councils including Arun can seek funds when developments would have a severe impact on local infrastructure.

But Section 106 cannot be used to solve existing issues.

By not adopting TAD, Mr Lanzer said there was ‘no way’ for the county to seek funds for wider works in Arun.

Dr Walsh said he highlighted the issue after questions were asked why developers in Yapton and Barnham had not contributed to planned improvements to the A259.

In response, Arun cabinet member for planning and infrastructure Ricky Bower said Arun did not adopt the scheme over concerns it would lead to the minimum provision of car parking spaces for new developments, as the level of contributions was calculated per space.

He said contributions had instead been sought for specific projects, including £1million for the Lyminster bypass from the Morrison’s development at Wick.

“The council would also question the legality of using the TAD approach to collect contributions as a result of changes in legislation over recent years,” he added.