Residents lobby MP about plans to extend Ford industrial estate

Villagers are concerned at plans to extend Rudford Industrial Estate
Villagers are concerned at plans to extend Rudford Industrial Estate

DOZENS of worried villagers have voiced their concerns with the area’s MP about a controversial plan to extend the Rudford Industrial Estate.

A group of almost 50 campaigners from across Climping met with Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb on Sunday afternoon. The meeting came amid fears that plans to extend the industrial estate closer to the heart of Climping could destroy the village’s rural character.

The proposal, by Sabil Ltd, would see vacant land to the west of the Rudford Industrial Estate on Ford Airfield being developed.

If approved, a new 2,063sqm ‘general open storage area’ would be built, the boundaries of which would press right up to Horsemere Green Lane – something which has outraged villagers.

Speaking after his meeting with the residents, Mr Gibb said: “It’s very important to preserve the rural feel to Horsemere Green Lane which is why the tree line separating the Rudford Industrial Estate from the residential area is so important.”

He added: “It’s so important to reflect and understand the very real concerns of the local residents.”

The boundary of the plan would run from Apple Tree Walk in the east right the way through to Wooldridge Walk in the west.

Angus McIntyre has lived in the village for more than 15 years and is opposed to the plan. The former Arun District Councillor felt it was vital to protect Climping’s integrity and character.

He said: “This application would significantly compromise that integrity and we stand to lose the countryside feel and character that surround and embody our parish.

“Climping needs to maintain its own identity and not start some inexorable slide towards merging with the surrounding areas, thus creating a large and unidentifiable urban sprawl.”

The meeting also saw representatives from Ford and Climping parish councils as well as campaign organisation the Clymping Field Protection Group.

Apple Tree Walk resident Steve Cotterill, 63, was one of the villagers to join the afternoon.

He said: “This is the biggest threat the village has faced since the Ford Eco-town. We simply cannot afford to let this pass.

“If we do, it could open the floodgates to further developments that would utterly obliterate the village we have come to love.”

Since being contacted by the villagers, Mr Gibb has written to the chief executive of Arun District Council to highlight the residents’ fears.

So far a total of 45 people have objected to the planning application.

The scheme is also opposed by both Ford and Climping parish councils.

The plan is to be debated by councillors sitting on Arun’s development control committee.

No date has yet been fixed for this.

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