Campaigners meet MP over housing concerns

Campaigners gathered under the No Yap-Town banner, a group which has met with MP Nick Gibb to discuss housing concerns
Campaigners gathered under the No Yap-Town banner, a group which has met with MP Nick Gibb to discuss housing concerns

A campaign group concerned with growing number of housing developments in their village have met with their MP.

Nearly 700 residents have signed the ‘No Yap-Town’ group’s petition to date, calling on Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb to work with them to ‘help protect’ Yapton.

The group met Mr Gibb on Friday and handed him the petition – though they continue to gather signature online.

Group spokesman Helen Chown said: “We appreciated the time with Nick and the opportunity to discuss our concerns.

“It was clear that there is common ground that we’ll only tackle the situation facing the area together and by working collaboratively and in consultation with local authorities as well as other neighbouring villages.”

Among the latest major planning applications to be approved was a scheme for up to 100 homes on land south of Ford Lane, allowed on appeal last month. But more are on the horizon, including land at Bilsham Road being earmarked for up to 250 homes and as many as 300 properties east of Drove Lane.

Petition numbers, swelling largely in response to the latest applications, grew to the hundreds in a matter of days – and according to the numbers the group said had now signed, had nearly doubled since the beginning of February.

The group’s spokesman said they hoped to continue discussions with Mr Gibb, as well as Arun District Council as the planning authority.

She said: “At the meeting it was agreed that we’d look at how we can foster a more collaborative approach to tackling housing issues in the area and we look forward to further dialogue both with Mr Gibb, Arun District Council and other stakeholders.

“We remain extremely concerned about the disproportionate levels of development planned for Yapton and will ensure the concerns of the village continue to be represented as development plans are considered.”

The online petition can be found by visiting http://chn.ge/2EUiD1d

The petition states that the Yapton Neighbourhood Plan – a legal document crafted by residents which includes an assessment of where they deem development to be most suitable – was often being overruled. The issue is linked to Arun’s ongoing pressures to deliver thousands of new homes.