VOTE: Push for court challenge over Barnham housing

A High Court challenge could be launched by councillors after a Barnham housing estate was approved.

The members of Arun District Council will be asked to consider if they want to take the rare step of taking on the government over the approval of up to 95 homes on Angel’s and Hyde Nurseries.

The decision will be made at the March meeting of the council’s development control committee.

It follows the decision of planning inspector Edward Grace to allow the housing wanted by West Sussex County Council to go ahead on the Yapton Road site after chairing a public inquiry last November.

News of the decision was given to the council’s development control committee.

Cllr Jean Goad, one of Barnham’s district councillors, said: “To say the inspector has sidestepped the issue of drainage is the understatement of the year.

“He has brushed it – the problems of drainage and sewage - completely under the carpet.

“The time has come to go for a moratorium on further development in this catchment area of Yapton, Walberton, Barnham and Eastergate. These inspectors do not listen to local residents. We are here to do that.”

Cllr Ricky Bower, who is in charge of Arun’s planning services, said: “Officers are seeking a legal view as to whether we might challenge that inspector’s decision.

“I think there are considerable errors – that the officers have also referred to – the inspector made in regard to this decision.”

Council planning officer Neil Crowther said: “While we can understand many of the comments in the inspector’s report, it’s disappointing from the officers’ point of view there was no mention really one way or the other to what we considered the most important issue – drainage.

The Environment Agency and Southern Water’s views were at odds with each other.

But the issue could be technically resolved and overcome with a condition attached to the permission requiring details of the proposed foul drainage system to be approved before building work started.