In 2004 the planning application described as Policy Site 6 was refused by the Development Control Committee of Arun District Council.
Approval of this development north of Felpham was granted on appeal by the planning inspectorate subject to a long list of conditions that included raising the site above the datum and providing part of the Bognor Regis relief road.
Mr Coster lays the recent exceptional surface water flooding problems at Arun’s door without any supporting evidence when in truth any ‘blame’ attached to the granting of this planning permission needs to be laid on the conditions imposed by the planning inspector.
The second canard is...‘the council wants to build’ associated with planning applications and even in relation to the current Draft Local Plan consultation.
The council does not do building. That is a matter for developers and land owners.
The third canard is...‘House building generates jobs’.
Yes, the construction industry does benefit from planning permissions during the construction period and there is always a minor addition to jobs in the service industries. But these are not the type of long-term, medium to high-end employment that is needed in Arun.
Arun district continues to have the lowest average wage per week in West Sussex – around £150 less than Crawley.
The council believes it essential the environment and infrastructure in Arun provide the attractive conditions that new employers want for relocating to Arun.
Since 2001, some 10,000 homes have been added to the council tax base in the district yet the ratio of jobs to residents of working age for Arun is now the second-worst in the south east.
The proof of this is seen every rush hour when out-commuting streams on the same roads that existed in 2001 and overloads our infrastructure.
The fourth canard…Is that Arun has control over the district’s housing numbers.
There are two scenarios being consulted on in the current Draft Local Plan.
Option 1 is based on the number of dwellings the majority group at Arun considers should be preferred to enable local generated housing need to be met.
That figure is 400 per annum and was opposed by the opposition parties.
Option 2 of 565 represents the requirement placed on Arun by the south east plan which, despite several attempts by the government to revoke it (the latest including a European Court of Justice ruling in March) is still in being.
There is a legal requirement for Arun to take this into account in order the Local Plan can be found ‘sound’ at an enquiry.
What is important to remember is Arun DC initially agreed a figure of 9,500 dwellings as acceptable for the whole plan period when the Draft South East Plan went to enquiry.
However, a further 2,000 were added by the-then government as a result of representations by those promoting a new settlement at Ford – and this despite opposition from the Highways Agency.
Consultation on the draft Local Plan doesn’t end until September 10 and so there is still time to make your comments.
The council is aiming to consult on the next draft early in the new year.
Cllr Ricky Bower,
Arun’s cabinet member for planning
Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton