Villages could see 1,000 more homes

DEVELOPERS want to add another 1,000 homes to a major housing scheme.

The Church Commissioners have applied for permission to build 3,000 dwellings around Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate.

Villagers have reacted with shock to the latest proposal.Mike Turner, chairman of the Villages Action Group, said: “We are astounded to discover that the figure of 2,000 houses has been forgotten and is now at 3,000.

“Are the Church Commissioners just another bunch of predatory developers?”

The group has led to the criticism of Arun District Council’s allocation of land around Manor Farm in Eastergate for housing in its local plan.

The council has earmarked the large site, owned by the Church Commissioners, for at least 2,000 homes.

Arun’s draft version of the plan has been sent to the Planning Inspectorate for it to hold an examination in public this spring.

Planning inspector Roy Foster will hear evidence from developers, residents and the council about the best sites for new housing.

The concept masterplan the Church Commissioners –with Hanbury Properties and Cala Homes – have submitted to the inspector states about 3,000 homes of various types and densities are being sought for the site. It says: “The homes themselves will be arranged in different clusters of development in extensions to Eastergate, Westergate and Barnham as well as forming distinct areas of new development.

“The new homes will include a range of types and sizes, appropriate for a sustainable community including young families, the elderly, single households and large families.”

As well as the need for more housing, Arun wants the development to fund an A29 flyover to replace the Woodgate level crossing.

But Mr Turner claimed the land allocation was flawed.

He said: “Is this the way that infrastructure payments for local ‘improvements’ should be obtained – by constantly extending an ill-conceived scheme whose net effect will only be to fill the very road it is paying for with grid-locked traffic?”

Cllr Ricky Bower, Arun’s cabinet member for planning and infrastructure, said: “The district council’s local plan has identified a specific site within Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate area for the building of at least 2,000 homes.

“The plan has recently been submitted for examination by an independent government-appointed inspector.

“The promoter of the site has made representations through the consultation for a higher number of homes.

“It will be for the inspector to consider the up-to-date evidence and make recommendations.”