DUNCAN BARKES New homes will have to be built somewhere...

I am a long-time resident of West Sussex.

I adore our green and pleasant land, which as well as offering some of the most luscious countryside also gives us access to some of the country’s finest beaches and boasts quaint and picturesque villages.

So, when the vexed issue of house building crops up, understandably there is great concern if mass development threatens to destroy any of these elements.

But what to do? New houses have to be built somewhere and whatever the location, there will always be opposition.

Chichester District Council is receiving criticism for its homes policy from Tangmere Parish Council.

Tangmere PC has concerns about the prospect of around 50 new properties being built in the Church Lane area of their historic village.

There are only a few days left of the public consultation set up by Arun District Council regarding its Draft Local Plan.

Local campaigners are livid the council want to build more than 2,000 houses in the areas of Aldingbourne, Nyton, Westergate, Eastergate and Barnham.

No matter where you look, people do not want mass house building projects in their own backyard.

The easy – and lazy – response is to brand those opposed to such proposals as NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard), but these people have serious concerns that need addressing. However, local councils seem unable to do this effectively.

Local residents fear new homes will place a huge strain on services and facilities.

Will already hard-pressed schools and surgeries be able to cope with the increased demand? Are there sufficient public transport links in place to service these new communities?

Will the already-congested A29 and A27 be able to cope with increased traffic? Is the sewage infrastructure adequate? These questions need urgent answers.

And of course there are concerns that if building is approved on greenfield sites, our glorious county stands to become a hideous concrete jungle.

In certain quarters of government the belief is mass housing development will kick-start the economy. Is it a price worth paying?

But we cannot ignore the there is an immediate and on-going requirement for new homes. Councils need to do significantly more than simply brand campaigners as NIMBYs. Campaigners need to acknowledge the houses need to go somewhere.

The debate needs to happen now and the letters page of the Observer is the ideal platform. Compromise could be the key. The question is: who will blink first?