Plea for jobs before homes in debate over Bersted strategy

Jobs, not homes, are needed in a new plan for Bersted, a public meeting was told.

Resident Janet Bradfield said the area’s emerging neighbourhood plan should concentrate on ensuring employment was provided.

She questioned the ambition in the proposed plan for 12,000 jobs to be created through its policies.

“Where are those 12,000 jobs coming from?” she asked. “Let’s be realistic. Get on with regeneration and it will create jobs.

“People will want to come to this area and they will need housing. Let’s do it the right way round this time rather than have housing without any jobs.”

Long-time campaigner Tony Lancaster said: “If you cast your mind back 20 years, you can see all the jobs which have gone from Bognor – the likes of Lec and Weir,” he said.

“Those old jobs should never have gone. What we really need is jobs with a capital J.”

The meeting on Tuesday was the first to be held by Bersted Parish Council in its preparation for a neighbourhood plan.

It will set out a vision until 2028 – and will play a major role in deciding development issues.

But it must be subject to consultation, including a poll, and be tested by an independent inspector before it can be used to judge planning applications.

The parish council has selected a working party of two councillors and two residents to prepare its plan by the end of June.

Further meetings about the plan are being held by the parish council at 7.30pm on Wednesday at Newtown Social Club, at 2pm and 7.30pm at Bersted Green Learning Centre and 7pm on March 1 at the Robin Hood.