‘Scoping opinion’ on 1,500 homes at Ford

Ford neighbourhood plan site allocations. Outlined in red, the Ford airfield site. Excerpt from draft neighbourhood plan.
Ford neighbourhood plan site allocations. Outlined in red, the Ford airfield site. Excerpt from draft neighbourhood plan.

A controversial development for 1,500 homes at Ford Airfield is moving forward with a ‘scoping opinion’ pre-application put to Arun District Council.

Climping, Yapton and Arundel town councils have previously registered concerns over the draft Ford neighbourhood plan, arguing it was ‘the wrong vehicle’ for planning of major developments.

The proposals include 37,000sqm of employment floor space, a local centre including retail, commercial and community facilities, primary school, nursery, a care or retirement home, healthcare facilities, public open space, new sports pitches and facilities, and associated access, infrastructure, landscape and ancillary work.

The 1,500 figure is considerably lower than figures in the controversial eco town plans, rejected in 2009, but more than the 700 homes originally drafted in the parish’s plan.

Commenting on the approval of the neighbourhood plan, prospective developer Wates Developments and Redrow Homes said the former Ford airbase as it is currently ‘effectively bisects the parish’.

A spokesman for the company said: “We are not aware of any other Neighbourhood Plan in the country allocating 1500 new homes through a positive and collaborative process that has extended over five years to date.

“This success illustrates what can be achieved through constructive Neighbourhood Planning where there is clarity of purpose and imagination on all sides.

“As we further develop our masterplan for the site ahead of a planning submission, we will continue to consult with all local stakeholders so that we achieve the high-quality proposal that meets local needs, particularly the creation of a new ‘community heart’ for Ford, which has been the parish’s central concern from the outset.”

Sue Abbott, who runs Ford Market, has since confirmed that the market in the runway area will not close due to the development, which she understands will be built to accommodate the market.

Ford residents voted for the neighbourhood plan with a vote of 75 per cent, of a 17 per cent turnout.

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