MP calls for government to scrutinise Lancing IKEA decision

Tim Loughton MP has said he is ‘very disappointed’ by the decision to approve plans for an IKEA and 600 homes in Lancing and has called for government scrutiny of the application.

Adur District Council’s planning committee voted 5-3 to approve the controversial New Monks Farm scheme at a meeting last night – see our live blog here.

MP Tim Loughton with Jack Howard at New Monks Farm, Lancing

MP Tim Loughton with Jack Howard at New Monks Farm, Lancing

In a statement posted online, Mr Loughton, the MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said: “I am very disappointed that the Adur Planning Committee last night caved into the enormous pressure they had been under to approve the plans for New Monks Farm and particularly the inclusion of IKEA, which can only impact hugely on the heavily congested A27.

“As I have said all along, it also takes out of circulation one of the few remaining sites which could provide much needed higher skilled and higher paid jobs in the district.

“Together with many local organisations and environmental groups I posed a series of questions to answer before approval which were not properly answered last night.

“I will therefore be seeking an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State for Local Government further to my earlier request to call in this application and scrutinise it much more closely for its long term impact on the whole area.”

An artist's impression of the proposed IKEA

An artist's impression of the proposed IKEA

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has the power to call in planning applications rather than letting the local authority decide but will normally only do this if the application conflicts with national policy in important ways or is nationally significant.

If the secretary of state decides to call in a planning application, an inspector is appointed to carry out an inquiry into the proposal – the findings of the inquiry must then be taken into account when the secretary makes a decision.

The Sussex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE Sussex) is also calling for government scrutiny of the decision.

In July, the branch wrote a letter formally requesting that the application be called in.

A masterplan of the New Monks Farm development

A masterplan of the New Monks Farm development

Following the decision last night, CPRE Sussex Chairman David Johnson said: “This is a shocking and wrong decision which will significantly damage the landscape and we believe threatens the long term viability of the airport.

“We would like to encourage anyone who shares our concerns to write to the Secretary of state for housing communities and local government, James Brokenshire, to call in this application for proper scrutiny.”

Mr Loughton joined with environmental organisations and community groups to write a joint letter of objection to the development at New Monks Farm.

Mr Loughton said: “This is probably the most extensive development proposed for Adur in decades.

“It is also one of the most controversial having attracted objections from a wide range of residents, elected representatives and local organisations many of whom are signatories to this joint letter of objection.

“Serious questions have been raised that councillors on the development control panel must answer before they can even consider agreeing to pass this application.

“There are considerable problems with this application not least the financial viability of the whole project, which if not addressed could result in bad outcomes for all involved, particularly local residents.

“More than just about any other retailer IKEA attracts shoppers by car because of the nature of its large sized goods.

“It is to be approached by a single entrance road from the A27 via a new roundabout.

“This will generate considerable additional traffic on an already heavily congested road seven days a week.

“And given that there have so far been no viable plans to upgrade this stretch of the A27 from the investigations being undertaken by Highways England the current road structure will have to cope with the heavily increased capacity, which of course it will not be able to do, even with the inclusion of the ‘magic roundabout.’”

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