VOTE: Land for £1 plan in Bersted and Felpham

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Land for a pound is being given to parish councils in Bersted and Felpham.

The great giveaway will enable community halls to be built in the areas’ new site six estates.

The bargain-basement sale of the freeholds was agreed by Arun District Council’s cabinet. It is subject to a valuer deciding the two pieces of land are worth less than £2m each.

The deal was welcomed by Bersted Parish Council chairman Brian Knight. He said: “This is wonderful news because there has been an argument all along about whether we would be able to have the site freehold or leasehold.

“The hall will be bigger than our Jubilee Hall and it will have a stage, with full disabled access, and a bar to make it a social club.

“Sales from the bar should pay for the hall’s running costs. I also understand we will be given ten years’ expenses for the hall.

“It will be built when the 186th house of the 650 homes on site six is occupied.”

He said the council intended the hall to be run by trustees comprising residents, users and parish councillors.

The provision of the halls was a key part of the agreement to enable 1,350 homes to be built on site six in both parishes.

Both parish councils have spent the past 30 months devising business plans to enable the new buildings to be run successfully in the long term. They have also talked with the respective developers about their preferred designs.

But the final work could only take place once they knew if they would take on the responsibility for the buildings on a freehold or leasehold basis.

The leasehold option was ruled out by Arun because it would mean having to monitor the use of the land and approve any changes.

Gillian Brown, Arun’s leader, said: “Both parishes have to take control of these community facilities and it’s quite right they should have the freeholds.”