Eastergate ‘sacrificed’ for road

CAMPAIGNERS have claimed Eastergate is being sacrificed to build a new road to the coast.

Mike Turner, chairman of the Villages Action Group, said a meeting of Arun District Council’s local plan sub-committee on March 27 made it clear the need for new homes was simply to build a new A29.

He said after the meeting: “Councillors did not mention housing need at all.

“They made it clear that the housing proposed for Eastergate was merely a means to fund a Woodgate bypass for the A29.”

People were angry, he said, because they believed tens of millions of pounds could be spent in a deal between Arun and the Coast to Capital local economic partnership on moving the route of the road when its benefits 
were unproven,

Businesses in Bognor which could benefit from the road would see everyone else pay the price – through taxes for the public spending involved in the project, through urban sprawl in the countryside and through even higher house prices.

“Only now has Arun thought to gather evidence from businesses as to whether a Woodgate bypass is needed.

“Were there genuine need, evidence would already have been available when the idea was put into the local plan, before money was spent engaging consultants to ‘study’ the routes already decided by the misguided council.”

Mr Turner stated neither the Highways Agency nor county council would invest in the A29.

That should be ‘evidence enough that such an unjustified scheme is simply not sensible nor value for money’, he said.

He condemned the majority of councillors for ignoring the views of the full council meeting in January for the possible housing locations to be re-considered.

But he said the group was grateful the council broadcast the meeting on the internet to enable as many people as possible to watch the proceedings. Those present in the public gallery at the meeting numbered 41.