Felpham field’s status will stay same for now

A bid to include an open space in Felpham’s conservation area has been put on hold.

Four groups around the village want to preserve the future of Church Field by extending the area to enclose it.

But Felpham Parish Council agreed to shelve the matter for the coming months.

Members decided at their November meeting it would be wrong to commit themselves to a definite plan of action for the four hectare site which borders the A259 Felpham Way between the Downview Road and Arun Leisure Centre roundabouts.

Richard Wickens, their clerk, said it was important they imposed no restrictions on Church Field while the parish’s neighbourhood plan was being compiled.

A meeting about the plan is being held on November 27.

It is likely to be subject to a referendum in May 2014.

Cllr Glenn Powell said the neighbourhood plan committee decided to make no recommendation for Church Field.

“Extending the conservation area to the field could affect what we want to do on it,” he said.

Cllr Paul English, the council’s chairman, said these uses might include green burials, allotments or a formal public open space.

“It’s important we try to keep an open mind.

“We want ideas to be put forward at the open meeting coming up,” he said.

Putting it in the conservation area would not stop housing, though it would make it more difficult by imposing restrictions on developers.

Cllr Ros Kissell pointed out that the future of the land was in the hands of its owner.

She said: “We don’t own the land and we don’t know what the owner wants to do.”

As reported, a petition to extend the conservation area based around St Mary’s Church soon attracted more than 1,000 names by September.

The groups involved in the campaign are the Felpham Village Conservation Society, Greener Bognor, Bognor Art Group and a flooding action group.

The parish council is hosting a neighbourhood plan open day for residents to have their say about the area.

The event – to create a vision for the community – will take place from 1pm-9pm on November 27 in St Mary’s Centre.