GOVERNMENT officials have been told to stop the sprawl of the Six Villages.
MP Nick Herbert will soon be meeting the chief planning officer at the Department for Communities and Local Government to continue his campaign against large-scale housing planned for the Westergate, Eastergate and Barnham.
This follows his debate with planning minister Nick Boles about the issue and his frequent contacts with Arun District Council’s members and planning officers.
Mr Herbert, the Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs, told a public meeting last week he had no intention of giving up the fight to stop inappropriate development like Arun’s intended Garden City of 2,000 homes.
“These absurd proposals for a Garden City will destroy the character of the villages,” he said at the meeting at the Ormiston Six Villages Academy in Westergate on Friday.
“I have been fighting this to the point of making myself pretty unpopular by making these points in parliament.
“I’ve been doing that today and I will continue to do so.
“These proposals for a Garden City are grandiose and absurd. Arun should go back to the original proposals, which are that the villages can accommodate a bit of extra housing and some can be added to the towns.
“It should be possible for Arun to go back to those numbers. That’s the case I will be making in the next few days.”
Some 100 people attended the meeting at the Ormiston Six Villages Academy held by the Villages Action Group.
It was held just before the district council’s crucial meeting tonight which will debate the location of three large housing schemes it believes are needed in the 15 years.
Mr Herbert said it was important to recognise some housing was needed to cater for new households and to help new home buyers.
“The argument is about how much there should be,” he said. “We have to keep making the case about what is sustainable in this part of the world.”
That meant taking account of the need for adequate schools, adequate roads and adequate means to deal with the area’s water and sewage problems.
“It should also be about losing green spaces and the character of the villages if they should become amalgamated into one conurbation.
“Something is lost if that happens. The community is lost and the sense of village and village life and people being together,” he said.
The government should keep faith with localism and enable communities to decide their future housing needs rather than having them imposed by the Planning Inspectorate arm of the government putting pressure on councils to agree higher numbers of homes, he added.