The first stage of an application for up to 2,300 new homes in North Bersted has been submitted – and labelled ‘ludicrous’ by a residents’ group.
The farmland off Chalcraft Lane is named as a strategic housing site in Arun’s draft Local Plan and a scoping report for has been put forward by Lichfields.
As well as providing a ‘mixed use development’ of up to 2,300 new homes, the application (BE/65/17/EIS) also proposes up to ten hectares of employment land, a three-form entry primary school, a local centre and associated infrastructure.
The scoping report, submitted on behalf of the landowners the Church Commissioners for England and the Langmead Group, has been produced to assist Arun District Council in forming an Environmental Impact Assessment, with an outline application to follow.
With its size and close proximity to Pagham Harbour SPA, it sets out potential effects on transport, air quality, water, noise and the local environment.
The scoping report states: “The outline planning application will play a significant role in provision necessary infrastructure to meet the proposed Local Plan priorities, including the provision of a road/pedestrian/cycle link between the A259 and Chalcraft Lane including facilitating the cycle route to Pagham and enhancing the A259 cycle route, and improvements to the A259 between Bersted and Drayton.
It adds the development will take ‘approximately 11 years to build at a rate of between 150 and 200 dwellings per year’.
In response, Mike Nichols, vice chairman of West Meads Residents’ Association, said: “This is grade one agricultural land, it’s absolutely ludicrous to build houses there. “People always need food and this is in the microclimate of the South East, land that has been farmed for years and years.
“We were always told that Ford was the first choice for these homes, it’s a disused runway so makes much more sense.
“We already had 650 properties built in Bersted, there’s another 1,200 down the road in Pagham. We know houses have to be built but we already have a substantial number here.
“We just don’t have the infrastructure to cope with 4,000 extra homes. There will be 5,000 extra cars from this development itself, the nearest hospital St Richard’s is busy, all our schools, doctors and dentists are full, and the drainage here is already terrible.
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