BUILDING 400 homes at Fontwell would turn surrounding villages into an ‘urban sprawl’, objectors to plans to be considered next week have argued.
Arun District Council officers have recommended approval for the homes on land east of Fontwell Avenue, to be considered by councillors on Wednesday.
The district is under pressure to deliver ‘significantly increased’ housing requirements, with officers arguing the plans could help reduce the shortfall.
But nearly 200 objections have been lodged, along with Walberton, Eastergate and Slindon parish councils also opposed to the application.
District councillor for Arundel and Walberton Paul Dendle said: “There were a number of things I was concerned about, which was the water table, access to the path, and the fact the surroundings would be completely overwhelmed by this development.”
The objections include concerns that the ‘unique six villages would be extinct if this project is allowed’, while the site lies outside the built up area boundary.
A statement from Walberton Parish Council and the Walberton, Binsted and Fontwell neighbourhood plan group challenged the timing of the application. Arun’s local plan has been suspended, pending further work on updated housing targets.
The statement read: “The 2013 emerging Arun local plan does not include this site as one for strategic housing.
“This plan is being examined and was found wanting – the examination has been suspended while Arun produces a new sustainability appraisal and new spatial strategy for housing. Therefore this recommendation stands as one that would pre-determine the results of Arun’s own ongoing studies and it is premature.”
West Sussex County Council Highways told Arun the delivery of the controversial A29 bypass was ‘relied upon’ to resolve expected traffic issues at the War Memorial roundbout on the A29. Developers have proposed a £2million contribution towards the scheme.
Fontwell resident John Cann said the bypass had ‘taken precedent’ over major local objections.
The plans would deliver 120 affordable homes and up to 3.6 hectares of public open space. Vehicular access would be provided via Fontwell Avenue or Arundel Road for the commercial part of the development, which will include 5,000 square metres of industrial space.
Officers stated ‘significant weight’ could be afforded to the fact 400 new homes would be provided at a time ‘when housing is required in the short to medium term’.
Four letters of support have been received.
In response to the article by the Observer, Rachel Allwood, planning director at Dandara, said: “The site has been recognised by the council as suitable for development and our proposals will deliver much-needed homes and community facilities.
“After more than a year of engaging with the local community to shape the proposals, we are pleased officers have recommended our application for approval.”
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