Villagers speak out about Fontwell housing scheme

An indicative drawing of the proposed housing at Fontwell which is subject to change SUS-141216-125518001
An indicative drawing of the proposed housing at Fontwell which is subject to change SUS-141216-125518001

CONCERNED residents have spoken of their opposition to plans to build hundreds of homes in Fontwell.

More than 100 people visited the latest exhibition by developer Dandara about its Fontwell Green project.

This would provide up to 450 homes, as well as a purpose-built HQ to enable village employer GTR to expand and add to its 125 jobs and community facilities.

The homes would be located on grassland of some 18 hectares east of Fontwell Avenue.

But Peter Constant, of Arundel Road, said: “The scheme is horrendous. There’s no way we want it here. This will not be integrated into the village. It will overwhelm it.”

He moved to Fontwell in 1978. “The occasional one or two houses are fine,” he said. “We see that as OK.”

The Chase resident Bernard Hoskins said: “I’m not against housing but I don’t want this big development. My concern is that there is no surgery included in the plan.”

Eastergate resident Ian Truin, of Barnham Road, said Dandara was seeking to pre-empt Arun District Council’s local plan. Its draft version states new housing is possible in Fontwell around 2025/26.

“The developers want to do this scheme in five years’ time because they don’t think Arun’s proposal for at least 2,000 homes in Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate is achieveable,” he said. “But I’m not sure how sustainable this scheme is.”

Most of the Fontwell site was excluded from the areas for development in the approved neighbourhood plan for Barnham and Eastergate.The exhibition at Fontwell Park Racecourse last Wednesday followed one by Dandara last March.

Dandara planning director Rachel Allwood said the company was committed to answering residents’ concerns at the event about transport around the site.

“More than 70 per cent of those who have left their feedback so far have said what type of community facilities they would like to see on the site. Suggestions include a new community hall, village green and sports facilities for local people,” she said.

All the responses will help to develop a masterplan to be shown to the public in early 2015. Dunhill Medical Trust owns the site, which is used for grazing.