Plans for 33 new homes on a ‘green lung’ in Yapton have been approved despite identical plans being refused last June.
Developers are in the process of appealing against the first decision made by Arun District Council’s development control committee.
But a second outline application for Clays Farm off North End Road was approved at the second time of asking on Wednesday (January 8).
The original refusal was based on the loss of grade one agricultural land, but officers said they had since found it was grade two instead.
Paul White, agent for the scheme, described how the site had been used to keep horses since 1978 and had not been used in that time for agricultural purposes.
Councillors heard how Arun’s five-year housing land supply position had worsened since the refusal last summer.
But Amanda Worne (LDem, Yapton) spoke strongly in favour of turning the second application down given the amount of development going on around Clays Farm.
She said: “This bit of green land should be left for the residents to be able to walk their dogs and other activities. It should be left as it’s a green lung.
“Yapton is suffocating because of all the development going on.”
She raised the lack of public transport and cycling and walking routes to reach amenities like the doctors’ surgery, adding: “We need to be standing up against these bad applications and not be frightened when we get taken to appeal but actually stand up for our community and residents who have all had enough of this.”
Jacky Pendleton (Con, Middleton on Sea) sympathised with many of Cllr Worne’s points, but felt there was a high risk of losing at appeal and could not identify any planning reason for refusal.
Meanwhile Ricky Bower (Con, East Preston) thought the extra 33 houses would be an important addition to Arun’s housing supply, but acknowledged it was a ‘rather blunt instrument to beat us with’.
He was supported by John Charles (Con, Barnham) who felt approving the scheme would save the council money by not contesting, and possibly losing, the appeal.
However both Martin Lury (LDem, Bersted) and Hugh Coster (Ind, Aldwick East) spoke in favour of refusal.
Cllr Lury asked: “What’s happening to this green and pleasant land? It’s slowly diminishing and we need to do something about it otherwise it’s going to imperil the future.”
Highway safety and congestion issues were discussed in depth by Cllr Coster.
He pointed out that all the proposed and approved developments along North End Road would lead to an expected 1,478 extra vehicle movements per day.
He said: “We are approving a torrent or tsunami if you like of extra vehicles in North End Road and in Yapton.”
Cllr Coster also expressed fears about the shared use access point for the Clays Farm development, with cars mixing with pedestrians and cyclists, something he thought was ‘hugely dangerous’.
A vote to approve the application was approved by eight votes to six.