Tony Dixon of Westergate in his letter to the Observer last week wrongly accuses Arun District Council of failing to observe two principles of natural justice when proposing the Westergate area for development – the need to hear the other side and that no man should be a judge in his own case.
He conveniently forgets that alternative locations for development within Arun District were fully discussed at the Examination in Public (EIP) of the West Sussex County Structure Plan held in 2002.
All parties with an interest participated and stated their case – the county and district councils, the Environment Agency, landowners, developers and amenity societies including the Five Villages Society.
After taking account of the representations of all parties, the inspectors in their report recommended the area west of Barnham as suitable for development.
On page 83 of their report they state: “If some or all of the new development were to be located west of Barnham, it could incorporate a new road bridging the railway and possibly also a new station to improve the accessibility of the new development to public transport.
“We regard these as being very substantial advantages over and above the general locational acceptability of the this general area for a strategic location and therefore recommend that it should be described as being west of Barnham and that improvements to the A29 should be listed as being a possible prerequisite”.
The EIP process is specifically designed to hear all parties’ representations and to ensure independent examination and recommendations. It is precisely the ‘quasi judicial rather than the party political context’ which Mr Dixon encourages the residents of the five villages to press for. But it has already happened.