North Bersted housing plans are sheer 'vandalism'

MP Nick Gibb has attacked plans for thousands of homes on North Bersted farmland as vandalism.

Mr Gibb said the government's centralised and dictatorial planning policy that had led to proposals for 2,500 dwellings on farmland to the west of Chalcraft Lane was wrong.

He has urged everyone in the Bognor Regis area to take part in the consultation into the planned development and object to it. The consultation will last for six weeks from mid-February.

Mr Gibb, the MP for Bognor and Littlehampton, said: "Putting 2,500 houses in one large housing development on prime agricultural land to the west of Chalcraft Lane would be an act of vandalism that would irrevocably damage the beauty of the environment.

"The government have told Arun District Council that they have to find sites for 11,500 new homes by 2026, and that such sites have to have viable plans for development.

"This top-down approach to planning where bureaucrats and ministers decide in Whitehall how many houses need to be built across the country and then allocate these arbitrary numbers to counties is wrong.

"Planning policy should not be based on the existence of plans from developers but on the views of local people and elected councillors.

"Arun has been put in a very difficult position by the government, who have forced it to put forward three options for housing in the district.

"By responding to the consultation process, we make it clear that the option to build 2,500 more houses in Bersted in not acceptable to the people of Bognor Regis."

Mr Gibb added that the Conservatives had pledged to sweep away top-down planning policy and promised to leave it to local councils to decide where and how many new homes will be built.

The Observer has reported that the landowners of the Chalcraft Lane location want to create an eco-quarter there with plenty of jobs created on the site along with the housing as well as community facilities and bus routes.

The location is one of three options the district council has put forward. The other choices are a new town at Ford or adding to the Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate area.

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