Plans could set countryside development ‘precedent’ – but set for green light

Arun Civic Centre ENGSUS00120130227103532
Arun Civic Centre ENGSUS00120130227103532

Councillors will decide on Thursday if a greenfield site which could ‘set a precedent for development into open countryside’ is suitable for up to 300 homes.

An Arun District Council land assessment previously deemed land west of Church Lane and south of Horsemere Green Lane, Climping, unsuitable for development. It also contained a warning over setting a precedent for countryside development.

But amid a backdrop of Arun facing land shortage issues and a hefty annual housebuilding target of 1,000 homes per year, planners have recommended giving the development the green light on Thursday (August 24).

The council’s local plan – a document outlining the district’s housing future up until 2031 – now identifies the site as one of its key options to help meet demand.

An Arun spokesman said: “All the information about why this has been recommended for approval is available in the report that has been published to the website.

“As this case is going before members (on Thursday) we are not in a position to be able to provide information other than what is set out in the report.”

The site is promoted for development by Mulgrave Properties, which will see its plans determined by Arun’s development control committee.

As well as 300 homes, the plans outline space for a village hall, surgery or nursery, as well as 530 square metres of commercial space.

The ten-hectare site will be accessed via a new roundabout off the A259, which will replace the existing A259/Church Lane roundabout.

The developer has pledged an affordable housing percentage of 30 per cent.

The application saw one letter of support, in contrast to 92 objections.

Climping and Middleton parish councils objected, along with Littlehampton Town Council, with all three concerned about the impact of the development on the roads.

Middleton called for a sum of £100,000 to help pay for a future traffic lights scheme for the Comet Corner junction.

Climping, meanwhile, argued the plans were contrary to its neighbourhood plan. Neighbourhood plans across the district have carried little weight in recent planning decisions, due to Arun’s land supply issues.

This newspaper asked Arun for a list of contributions the developer was expected to provide for key services, including highways improvements and healthcare provision, as the committee’s report did not include the latest details.

It also asked for clarification on why its view on the site had changed – but received no additional reply aside from the statement above.