VOTE: Bid to halt 2,000-home development hits buffers

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CHALLENGES to major housing plans which could see some 2,000-plus homes built in six villages and a new route for the A29 have failed.

Councillors were joined by members of the public as they appealed to members of a special scrutiny meeting to overturn two decisions made by Arun District Council’s cabinet member for planning, Ricky Bower.

Cllr Bower had ordered a visioning study to be prepared for the broad location of development at Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate and Angmering.

He also commissioned a study into possible bypass routes for the A29.

His decisions were called in to Arun District Council’s overview select committee last Thursday by Barnham area councillors Jean Goad, John Charles and Dougal Maconachie, together with Roger Nash and Adam Cunard, from Bognor Regis.

Speaking on possible changes to the A29, Cllr Charles said: “If this realignment was to have any reference to the local plan why was it not adequately included in the consultation we had a few weeks ago, to give people a chance to comment.

“We are going to part with £25,000 of tax payers’ money for a scheme that will come to nothing. It will only waste our time and the time of our officers.”

Members of local parish councils also used last Thursday’s meeting to state their views.

Marianne West, the chairman of Aldingbourne Parish Council said: “The decision for the A29 study has been put forward before the bulk of the information from the draft local plan consultation has been collected. We have not seen any significant results or information. The possible routes are not feasible.

“The suggestion the war memorial in Eastergate, which symbolises the sacrifices made by members of our villages during the wars, could just be moved is terrible. I can tell you we will not let this happen. We will chain ourselves to it.”

David Philips, the chairman of Barnham Parish Council and member of Eastergate Parish Council said: “I have heard this new road nicknamed the road to nowhere and that about sums it up. It would not serve any real purpose as far as I can see.

Cllr Bower told committee members the A29 study, as set out in the draft local plan, would investigate possible options and costs for the realignment of the A29 in a bid to greatly improve the route in and out of Bognor.

Anger at the decision to order a visioning study to be prepared for the broad location of development in the six villages was also voiced.

Cllr Phillips said that when Arun officers visited the villages as part of their recent draft local plan consultation concerns about the 2,000 plus homes were continually raised.

Both of the challenges were lost.

What do you think?

Is a study into moving the A29 a waste of taxpayers’ money? Cast your vote in the poll to the right of the screen and leave your comments below.