Parish meeting to show if support for field is strong

Church Field
Church Field

CAMPAIGNERS to protect a Felpham field have called a parish meeting.

The six village residents have used their democratic right to ask the parish council to stage the session about Church Field.

It will be held at 6.30pm on Thursday, April 11, at St Mary’s Centre, off Grassmere Close. The meeting could result in those present demanding a parish poll be held to determine the public’s view about the open space being included in the Felpham conservation area.

One of the residents, Joan Aubrey Jones, said: “The purpose of calling the meeting is to make sure we get the maximum possible conservation rules for Church Field.

“It is privately owned and we want to ensure there is no way it gets developed with concrete.”

Church Field sits south of the A259 Felpham Way, separates Felpham from Bognor Regis and is just north of the present conservation area. It is owned by a family trust.

Parish council chairman Paul English said a parish poll was not needed to make it aware of the value of Church Field as an open space.

“None of us want to see housing on Church Field. The council has regularly been in constant and consistent discussions with Arun District Council over the issue of Church Field.

“The parish council has already stated and confirmed it would object to any proposal for housing development on the site but would like other possible options kept open for community usage, such as green burials and allotment sites.”

He pointed out the Greener Bognor Network had sent a 1,000-plus name petition to Arun about the expansion of the conservation area to include Church Field.

Arun had promised Felpham would be the first area to be considered in a district-wide review of conservation areas. This would include formal public consultation.

In contrast, a parish poll would cost the parish council £5,000-8,000 to equal an increase of 5-8 per cent in its share of the total council tax bill for a result with no legal power.

“Any parish poll result would be advisory open and is not binding on any authority to act on,” he said.