Extra bedrooms are rejected by angry councillors

OPPONENTS of plans for extra bedrooms in a West Meads housing scheme have been unanimously backed by councillors.

Arun District Council development control committee members protested the bid, made after building had started on the additional room in each of the ten terraced houses, made a mockery of their living space standards.

They said it would cause unsatisfactory living standards with unacceptably small rooms.

The three-bed house has 85sqm internal floorspace against the 96sqm set out in Arun’s emerging local plan.

There is 69sq m in the two-bed design against the 83sq m required but the four-bed layout does exceed the standard with 114sq m compared to the required 113sq m.

They added a lack of new parking spaces for the extra residents able to live in the bigger houses, on the Queensfield East site of the former St Michael and All Angels Church, would also harm the area by causing congestion on the roads of the open plan estate.

Michael Nicholls from West Meads Residents’ Association told the committee last Wednesday that 18 parking spaces should be provided according to county-wide standards.

But only 12 were being created. “This under-provision of parking with only one parking space for a four-bedroom house will have an unneighbourly impact on existing residents because there will be conflict over parking spaces,” he said.

Another resident, Ray Collins, said up to 54 new residents would put further pressure on the estate’s already overburdened sewage system.

One of the area’s councillors, Gillian Brown, said: “This is a gross abuse of the planning system.”

Aldwick Parish Council’s planning committee chairman Michael Warden said the potential number of residents in the houses would rise from 32 to 54 with the extra ten bedrooms.

“The behaviour of Mildren Homes has been disingenuous at best and leaves a great deal to be desired,” he said.

But Richard Goodall, for builders Mildren Homes, said: “The applicant has gone to great lengths to consider the issue of parking.

“The proposed parking has met no objection from the highways authority,” he said. Similarly, Southern Water was satisfied its sewers could cope with the use by the new residents.

But councillors criticised Mildren Homes for seeking to squeeze the extra rooms into the houses which had been approved.

The initial decision was made by a planning inspector in July, 2011, after Arun rejected the ten houses.

Cllr Ricky Brown (C, East Preston) said: “The original application was never going to fit in with the neighbours and this simply makes the matter worse. It’s completely out of character with the area.”

Cllr Jacky Pendleton (C, River)said: “It’s an absurd over-development of the site.”