Call for shops’ protection to be included in Bersted plan

PROTECTION for small shops should be a key element for Bersted’s future.

Resident Jenny Gould said she wanted to see encouragement for the traditional-style businesses included in the area’s draft neighbourhood plan.

The plan will shape Bersted for the next 15 years if it is approved by residents in a poll set for this October.

“It’s very important we make sure that we stop this over-development of all the competing big shops like Tesco and Sainsbury’s,” said Jenny, 48.

“We should be encouraging the more sustainable shops like grocers and butchers to come back because that’s what people really need.

“Family greengrocers will sell people exactly what they want rather than pre-packaged and over-sized items. It would be better value because there would not be any waste.

“We need to make sure local shops are contained within new housing as well.”

She was among the small number of visitors to the latest consultation event last Tuesday staged by the neighbourhood plan steering group set up by Bersted 
Parish Council.

Some 100 people have visited the five sessions. Many have given their opinions about the policies it contains.

Phillippa Seager, one of the steering party’s members, said: “People have been concerned about where any new building is going.”

Cllr Patrick Hastings, the parish council’s chairman, told the annual electors’ meeting after the consultation evening that the plan’s creation had been the major event for the council in the past year.

“The public consultation stage has culminated in today’s event at the community centre and we move on to the inspection stage and the referendum, when electors of the parish will be asked to vote to accept the plan.

“This will be a unique experiment in local democracy. We want you all to take part,” he said.

The plan’s policies are based around environment and sustainability, getting around, employment and enterprise, community, leisure and wellbeing, and housing and design quality.

It envisages housing being built on part of the former Rising Sun pub on Chichester Road and Barton Primary School when that moves.

A final version of the plan will be decided by councillors before it is sent to an independent examiner to be assessed. The examiner’s verdict will have to be discussed by the council before the plan is put to the vote, probably in October. It has to be approved to take effect.