Infrastructure worries as plans for homes at Fontwell move forward

Details of plans to build up to 400 homes and community facilities on land east of Fontwell Racecourse has renewed concerns about infrastructure in the area.

Thursday, 7th March 2019, 5:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 5:20 pm
Residents view plans for homes on land east of Fontwell Racecourse. 28-02-19

Many of the questions put to developer Dandara’s representatives at a well- attended public consultation on Thursday centred around the management of traffic from new homes onto the A27.

Katerina Karaskova, who lives in Fontwell, said she was very concerned at the existing pressure on schools and other key facilities.

She said: “Terrified, how are the roads going to cope? It’s busy enough as it is.

Residents view plans for homes on land east of Fontwell Racecourse. 28-02-19

“The doctors are full, where are we going to put people?”

Many of those who had attended came directly from the earlier public consultation on changes to the alignment of the A29 and the connected development.

Claire Lewis from Walberton Parish Council said she thought this had shaped the way people reacted.

She said: “At least as a community for Fontwell, they will have recreational facilities which they didn’t have and the Bottle site as well, they will help create a bit of money and help community groups.”

Junction changes to A27 Fontwell roundabout agreed under an outline application for up to 400 homes at Fontwell. Displayed at a consultation event on 28-02-19.

She said those who wanted to be able to shape what those community facilities are should consider becoming part of the parish council, as a vacancy is open for someone from Fontwell, or be part of the steering group.

John Richards, who was answering questions from residents for Dandara said people’s main interest had been works already agreed under an outline planning application for changes to Fontwell Roundabout, with a ‘smart’ traffic light system regulating traffic flow.

He said: “Clearly their natural position is that the existing highways that we have can’t cope, which is obviously why it’s been improved as per development, that’s the standard approach.

“The main thing is it’s a Highways England designed improvement, so we don’t design it, we’re working with them to deliver it.”

He said he was ‘delighted’ that more than 120 people attended the event.

He said: “It probably just represents ongoing interest in the community and that we’re giving the community building and space and we’re going to hopefully move forward with the community.”

Consultation will remain open until March 11.

Have your say on designs for homes in consultation

The public exhibition on Thursday of plans for homes at Fontwell comes ahead of a reserved matters application seeking the final stage of planning approval for the site.

Planning permission in principle has already been granted for the land and highways improvements.

The site includes 11 acres of community space agreed in a deal with Walberton Parish Council in 2017.

That space is to be owned by the parish council, which is asking for opinions from residents on what the space should be used for.

Ideas so far include a range of options, from a community orchard, allotments, and grassland or park areas for dog walking and leisure activities.

Display boards at the consultation exhibition on Thursday gave the suggestion of a horse paddock to the north east of the site, with the central community space used for a wildflower planting area or orchard area and a foot and cycle path with outdoor gym equipment.

Designs displayed by Dandara showed a phased development of detached and semi-detached homes and associated parking, with ‘Sussex’ style hanging tiles and garden areas.

In line with planning policy, 30 per cent of the new homes will be ‘affordable’ homes, either as rented properties or shared ownership.

The plans also show initial ideas of where planting could be placed to screen the development, which will sit south of an employment area.

Consultation will remain open until Monday March 11.

A spokesman for Dandara said that exhibition documents have been sent to parish councils but can also be requested by emailing [email protected] Responses can be emailed to the same address or posted to ‘Freepost Consultation Comments’ (No other address is required).