Sites earmarked to create a jobs boost

Public views are wanted about plans to create sites in North Bersted for thousands of jobs.

A consultation over the initiative for the Salt Box, Rowan Park, Oldlands Farm and the former Lec airfield began last Tuesday.

Arun District Council will be gathering opinions for at least six weeks about the need to set aside the land for employment purposes.

The allocation ties in with the draft local plan, on which the council has just finished consulting.

Approval for the consultation was given at the full meeting of the council on September 5.

Cllr Stephen Haymes, the chairman of the local plan 
sub-committee, said the sites formed an important part of the enterprise@BognorRegis vision to boost the town’s economy.

“Members will be aware economic regeneration and the requirement to provide land specifically for employment growth are contained within the draft local plan. Our aim is to provide 110 businesses and 7,500 jobs in a variety of business sectors,” he said.

Backing the policy to enable the land to be earmarked for jobs would ‘help to create economic prosperity for the district’, he said.

Cllr Roger Nash said: “I’m very pleased to support this for the long-term regeneration of the town. These things being put into place now will take a long time to come to fruition. It’s important to get them started now.

“Hopefully, the consultation will be for longer than six weeks. The more consultation and the more feedback we get, the better.”

Cllr Ricky Bower, who heads Arun’s planning service, said: “Members need to support this. Members will have heard me say before the draft local plan is a plan for economic growth in this district.

“The conditions need to be set so we can attract new businesses to the district and start to overcome some of the problems we have with the level of out-commuting that exists.”

enterprise@BognorRegis was formed by Arun and a variety of partners after an attempt for formal Enterprise Zone was refused by the government last year. The aims of the venture are the same – to boost the town’s economy by providing the conditions for existing companies to grow and new ones to arrive.

The four sites which are wanted to provide space for employment are all sited to the north of Bognor around the A29 and the new northern relief road.

The Salt Box (11.8 hectares) and Rowan Park (3.3ha) are off Rowan Way. Oldlands Farm (23.8ha) is next to the A29 and the 30.8ha of the former Lec airfield and adjoining land is between the relief road and the current A259 Felpham Way.

West Sussex Wildlife Protection group has stated opposition to the Lec airfield plans, saying the north-south road to reach the proposed business park would ruin the environment of Lidsey Rife.