Protestors pledge to carry on fighting new town plan

CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to continue fighting plans for 2,000 homes around Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate.

Well over 100 Villages Action Group supporters watched Arun District Council members agree last Wednesday to include the site for the homes in their draft local plan of land use in the area for the next 15 years.

But a VAG spokesman said it would battle the local plan through all the stages until its final adoption by the council.

“As a group of unpaid volunteers against the powerful and well-funded council, landowners and developers, we are fully convinced that the council’s plan is unsound, unfair and undeliverable,” he said.

“We are committed to fight them on it every inch of the way, through the next stages of their plan preparation, through the next stage of consultation on to the examination in public where we will be represented by planning professionals.

“We still believe that localism is the way to plan our district and that a better sharing out of new housing will best be achieved by a sensible, district-wide and consistent parish allocation in all parishes.”

The spokesman said the narrowness of the decision by five votes in favour of the land allocation was heartening.

The debate showed many councillors believed Ford was a suitable area for development. But it became clear Arun was in detailed talks about developing the Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate area for the sake of an A29 bypass and flyover.

Conflicting costs of the single carriageway road were given, said the spokesman, and it would be expected to take 11,000 vehicles from the new town on top of the 13,000 current daily movements.

“There is still an infrastructure deficit in the villages for sewers, drainage, health, schools and more.

“The A29 bypass is a fool’s project that will bring just traffic and pollution to our villages and delay any sensible investment in infrastructure we need,” he said.

Bognor Regis Civic Society vice-chairman Hugh Coster also criticised the vote. He said: “Those Bognor councillors who voted for the improvements to the A29 have unthinkingly voted for flooding in the town.

“We understand why they have voted for the road because of the promises of the riches it will bring to Bognor.

“But there is no proof the work will happen or of the benefits re-aligning the A29 will give.

“We need to look at the whole network to see the improvements which would work best.”


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