Government steps in over controversial Yapton homes plans

Residents of Fellows Gardens raised concerns over the plans before they were approved by Arun District Council
Residents of Fellows Gardens raised concerns over the plans before they were approved by Arun District Council

A public inquiry will be held after the Government stepped in to determine major housing plans for Yapton.

Arun District Council approved plans for 108 homes on land off Burndell Road in June, despite scores of objections from villagers.

The site was deemed unsuitable for development in the village’s neighbourhood plan – a document residents produced to map out the future of their area.

But the neighbourhood plan was overruled due to delays with Arun’s own local plan and the authority’s difficulty in identifying enough land for housing.

The application will now be decided by Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid.

Vicky Newman, chairman of Yapton Parish Council’s planning committee said: “It’s really positive to hear our local voice has been listened to and its is being called-in. With the sad tale of Arun, developers feel that every neighbourhood plan can be held to ransom.”

The parish council rejected the site as part of the neighbourhood plan process.

Arun’s local plan has been suspended, with a government inspector calling on the authority to explore the potential to meet higher annual housing targets.

It is the conflict between the two plans which will be explored at the inquiry.

In response, Arun director of planning and economic regeneration Karl Roberts said Arun was seeking urgent talks with the Government for advice on such matters.

“On the one hand the Government, through the planning inspectorate, is telling the council it must plan for the delivery of significantly greater levels of house building than envisaged when neighbourhood plans were being drawn up,” he said.

“While on the other hand, the Government is seeking to review some, but not all, of the decisions taken by the council to help the delivery of the increased housing requirements, even though that inevitably means sometimes going against the neighbourhood plan.”

Arun faces a similar inquiry in November over plans for homes at Fontwell.

Mr Roberts said Arun had ‘no problem’ with the scrutiny but warned it would cost taxpayers and delays would add to pressures on other sites to be developed.