Landowners asked to discuss future of Felpham farmland

OWNERS of a cherished field of farmland on Felpham’s outskirts are to be asked to meet councillors.

The family, which ploughs Church Field, will be requested to speak to the village’s parish councillors to discuss their intentions for the four-hectare site.

The discussion was agreed by the council members on Tuesday because of their concerns for the future of the area south of the A259 Felpham Way.

Cllr George Blampied said he hoped the council would include in the talks a wish to purchase the land. Any protection it currently enjoyed could otherwise be removed.

“We should pursue trying to buy this land under the wellbeing project and bring it under the control of the parish council. We can then be sure it’s safe for all time.”

Cllr Paul English, the council’s chairman, said any attempt to buy the site would be subject to full investigations and discussions by councillors:

“It has always been allocated as a public open space. That means it does not need to have access by the public, but is so it remains as a set of lungs for the area,” he said.

Cllr Geoff Farrell, the chairman of the allotments and open spaces committee of the council, said: “We need to find a way of having a discussion with the landowner which is an initial talk.”

The future of the site has concerned councillors since Arun District Council’s local plan land use document which protects it as an open space runs out this month.

Cllr Farrell and the parish council’s clerk, Richard Wickens, met Arun’s assistant director of housing and planning strategy, Karl Roberts to talk about their worries.

Mr Wickens said: “Arun are not looking at Church Field as a potential development area because it’s identified in the current local plan as an open space.

“In the district council’s options for growth policy in 2009, it was not identified as building land.

“And in the strategic housing land availability assessment it is classed as a rejected site outside of the development objectives.”

Cllr Mary Harvey said that it might be possible to include Church Field in Felpham’s conservation area.

That would impose much stricter controls on any building which took place there, but it would take a lot of legal work to arrange.