Health system ‘at crisis point’ – and that’s just one of major issues facing Arun

Arun Civic Centre, Littlehampton ENGSUS00120130418113852
Arun Civic Centre, Littlehampton ENGSUS00120130418113852

A health system ‘at crisis point’, a desperate need for new schools and ‘very severe’ traffic delays.

That is just three of the major issues facing Arun as it seeks to map out its housing future for years to come.

Consultants have assessed the impact of various levels of housing on the district’s infrastructure, as part of the ongoing Arun local plan process.

Scenarios explored have estimated the effect of building between 650 and 1,000 homes per annum.

A report by Hampshire County Council stated: “Whichever development strategy is proposed, there will be significant requirements for expanded and new education and healthcare provision.

“Nearly all the sites identified a requirement for primary education provision, with the cumulative pressures as a result of combinations of sites also requiring secondary expansion projects across the district.”

Arun’s annual housing delivery target, based on Government data, suggests a need to build 845 homes per year to meet demand.

Arun District Council is obliged to produce a local plan, assessing the suitability of various sites and setting a target for housebuilding.

This could be higher or lower than the Government’s figure but the strategy must be based on evidence.

In the worst-case, the report states the highest level of housing tested could require two new primary schools at Ford and Eastergate, a four-form entry secondary school and expansion of other facilities. A need for between 300 and 600 extra childcare places has been identified.

Describing the district’s health facilities as ‘at crisis point’, the report estimates up to five new practices would be required at a cost of £14million.

Sussex Police advised the consultants increased housing would result in a major uplift in incidents – a pressure expected across all emergency services. And on the roads, potential delays caused by the highest amounts of housing could be ‘very severe and potential showstoppers’.

The report concludes, however, ‘very little’ would rule out specific sites if adequately mitigated.

Click here for the full report, and scroll down to ‘Infrastructure Delivery Plan’.