Some excellent contributions have been made about the draft Local Plan and I have been struck at the lack of Nimbyism shown at all the consultation events:
All the villages accept the need a small amount of housing to meet local needs, which accords with Arun’s own lower figure of 400 units per year.
The figure of 400 units (policy SP8) is the one which should therefore be supported.
With the closing date for comments looming on September 10. I hope ADC will listen carefully.
If the higher figure of 565 houses per year were to be adopted, it would risk putting the whole district in the frame for a much higher level of housing, because 2,000 extra houses could not possibly fund all the infrastructure improvements needed, a by-pass and the improvements then needed at the Fontwell and Eartham junctions.
Earlier this year the House of Lords concluded the cost of providing services to someone in a rural area (£400 a year) is double that of an urban area (£200).
Large-scale housing in any of our villages therefore represents a heavy future financial burden for Arun DC and WSCC.
The cost to the public purse cannot be justified, especially in the current economic climate.
There have been many constructive suggestions. Downgrading the A29 to B-road status has particular merit.
It would resolve the problem of sat-navs leading traffic off the strategic road network, which is already being upgraded to deal with congestion problems.
The A29 and B2233 are not part of the strategic road network and there is a strong risk that any by-pass to the Woodgate crossing would be redundant when upgrades are complete, a huge waste of resources.
The consultants’ report into the A29 warns it is merely ‘a desk study’ and that a business case has not been made.
They did not visit the area, neither did they address sustainable transport options or look at the strategic context. It is not a sound basis for planning.
This is illustrated by the huge and justifiable concern voiced about putting A29 traffic onto the B2233 at Nyton (option A) or Eastergate (option D).
A by-pass finishing at the B2233 is simply not achievable and it therefore cannot be built for the cost indicated: At Nyton the road cannot be widened to take traffic from the A29 because it is bounded by listed buildings and the Aldingbourne Rife.
Articulated lorries are currently using this narrow, winding road because of road improvements elsewhere and we pedestrians have no pavement for protection. This needs to be stopped before there is a fatal accident.
A by-pass would encourage traffic on to the A29, adding to congestion further up at Fontwell and Pulborough, where a woman was recently killed by an articulated lorry at one of the mini-roundabouts.
The concern prompted by the draft Local Plan needs to be translated into the Neighbourhood Plans being drafted by parish councils, who now have the opportunity to build on the current level of interest by providing renewed opportunity for public engagement in their NPs.
If people could copy their responses to their parish councils, their points can be taken on board in the NPs as well as the Local Plan, and Arun and the parishes can then work in tandem to achieve local aspirations, as required by the national planning policy framework.