COUNCILLORS have been urged to unite behind radical changes to a housing blueprint for the Bognor Regis area.
All Arun District Council members should back the move which could see almost a thousand proposed homes scrapped, an MP has said.
Arun District Council’s local plan sub-committee voted to replace the 580 homes a year until 2029 in their draft local plan with 425 homes for the next six years.
The vote by 12-1 means the 2,000 homes ‘garden city’ development for the Eastergate area could also be shelved.
Mr Gibb, the MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, said: “My very strong view is that Arun should adopt the lower housebuilding target of 425 houses a year rather than the unsustainable and environmentally damaging 585 houses a year that officers are proposing.”
Villages Action Group chairman Mike Turner also called on councillors to stand firm and resist any pressure to change their minds.
Sub-commitee member Cllr Gillian Brown (C, Aldwick East) told last Thursday’s (May 16) meeting the plan needed to be a ‘vision for the future’ which pulled together housing, regeneration and employment.
She said the number of homes required annually should be reduced from 580 to 425 and a ‘sliding scale’ approach to development be adopted.
Cllr Mrs Brown said: “We need a flexible local plan which can deliver the housing needed in the district but also the employment that is much-needed.
“We need a plan which is going to encourage the growth of the local economy. We should adopt the 425 homes, plus the 30 council houses we are intending to build each year.”
Cllr Mrs Brown said it was vital housing numbers did not come at the expense of local jobs – unlike site six.
Karl Roberts, Arun’s top planning officer, said the councillors’ decision had made his report meaningless.
Mr Roberts said the radical changes to the housing number meant it was pointless to look at possible strategic sites for large scale schemes. This would have to be done when the local plan’s housing chapter was finished.
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