A MASTERPLAN for Pagham has been put on hold for further work.
The parish’s neighbourhood plan was set to go to referendum next February to enable its policies to allocate sites for housing and open space to be approved by residents.
But hopes of parish councillors to get the important document used for deciding planning applications have suffered a setback.
The plan needs to be revised to toughen its environmental policies to ensure the effects of any changes in the area take account of Pagham Harbour nature reserve.
Parish council chairman Ray Radmall said: “The plan needs to be boosted. It needs little changes to make sure it fully complies with all the environmental requirements. It is a case of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.
“The plan has to meet the EU regulations in respect of habitat and environmental assessment and biodiversity.
“Pagham is in many respects different from any other plan in the Arun district because of the proximity of the nature reserve.”
The nature reserve is protected by a mixture of national, European and international regulations to ensure it stays an important wildlife haven.
Cllr Radmall said the changes which were required would leave the plan’s main elements untouched. The housing sites have been earmarked around Nyetimber village.
Donna Moles, Arun District Council’s neighbourhood plan development officer, said the plan had been withdrawn after a careful review by the district and parish councils.
“It is felt that the plan could be made more robust by producing some further detailed studies.”