Littlehampton residents’ fight to save open space continues despite ‘inevitable’ house-building

A group of Littlehampton residents continue their fight to save their beloved meadow from being built on.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 3:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 5:22 pm

The fight to preseve green space is continuing despite house-building on the site being ‘inevitable’.

Oakcroft Meadow, north of The Littlehampton Academy, is owned by West Sussex County Council and has been earmarked for new homes.

Earlier in the year, residents came together to voice their concerns and to try to save the land.

Save Oakcroft Meadow group angry at possible build on the land. Infront, Sally Downing, Sara Pidgeon, Gill Parriss, and Alan Moss. Photo by Derek Martin Photography and Art

Sara Pidgeon, 49, is one of the founders of the Save Oakcroft Meadow group.

She said “The meadow is a lovely green space, without any football goals, basketball courts, or kids’ play park, and it is full of nature.

“There are few spaces left that are just green and it would be a real shame to lose the meadow to housing.

“We’ve got so many houses being built, and I appreciate that we need housing, but we haven’t got the infrastructure for more.”

Save Oakcroft Meadow group angry at possible build on the land. One of the founders, Alan Moss. Photo by Derek Martin Photography and Art

Local councillors Billy Blanchard-Cooper, Bob Woodman, and James Walsh are also passionate about Oakcroft Meadow, stating that they want ‘as much green open space and dog-walking routes as possible when the county council sells it off for development’.

Mr Blanchard-Cooper said: “This area is a wildlife habitat, much used and loved by local residents for dog-walking and relaxation.

“Although inevitable that permission for much-needed social housing will be given, it is essential that green open space, trees, and dog-walking routes are preserved.”

Miss Woodman said: “This area has been freely used for over 30 years, and rights of way established.

DM21101304a.jpg. Save Oakcroft Meadow group angry at possible build on the land. The site. Photo by Derek Martin Photography and Art SUS-211023-202224008

“It is imperative that the county council recognises this, and ensures that the pathways and green open spaces are preserved and not all built over.”

Dr Walsh added: “Local residents must be listened to, and the county must balance the need to retain green open space for wellbeing with the need for homes for local people.”

A spokesperson for the county council said: “West Sussex County Council confirms it owns the land in question, which is identified for housing development in the Arun District Council Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment.

“The county council recently announced it had completed a tendering selection process and entered a long-term joint venture contract, with Lovel, to construct high-quality developments on a number of sites across the county and this one is currently being assessed in design.

Save Oakcroft Meadow group angry at possible build on the land. Sally Downing. Photo by Derek Martin Photography and Art

“As potential development proposals emerging from designs will involve inclusive public consultations through the planning application process, in the usual way.”

A spokesperson for Lovell said: “We will be engaging with the local planning authority shortly and hope to be able to share our first thoughts with local residents over the coming weeks.”

Save Oakcroft Meadow group angry at possible build on the land. The site. Photo by Derek Martin Photography and Art
Save Oakcroft Meadow group angry at possible build on the land. The site. Photo by Derek Martin Photography and Art