Tunnel vision?

Following the release of the new Draft Local Plan by Arun DC we can now see that nothing has changed.

There are certain elements within Arun District Council who have a form of tunnel vision. They seem to be hell-bent on dropping 2,230 (at last estimate) unnecessary houses on top of the Five Villages which of course would destroy their completely rural nature and the lifestyle of their inhabitants. Arun District Council have given this the meaningless title Option 2. This helps to disguise the true destructive intent of the scheme.

The existing local roads which are already full would immediately be gridlocked, all local facilities such as schools and doctor’s surgeries would also be completely overloaded, flooding would be much more regular than it already is. In fact the present very good quality of life of the present residents of the Five Villages would be lost forever with this urbanisation of the Villages. We would become a satellite of Bognor with about 3,000 extra cars and lots more noise and pollution.

The idea of building a vast new housing estate between the settlements of Westergate, Eastergate and Barnham is District Council vandalism of the worst form. There is no consideration of the 5,000 existing inhabitants of our Five Villages.

The inevitable consequence of any such scheme would be to greatly increase the flooding around Bognor and Felpham due to the increase in surface run-off caused by covering green fields with concrete and tarmac. If you think the last floods were terrible then just imagine something twice as bad.

The article in the Observer about the recent Bognor and Felpham flooding blamed it on the Aldingbourne Rife. There is also an Eastergate Rife which feeds into the Lidsey Rife. They all drain naturally towards Bognor and the sea.

If large areas of existing green fields were to be covered by housing then the water entering these rifes would be greatly increased and Bognor would certainly pay the price. The absolute stupidity of proposing that number of houses on a vulnerable flood plain beggars belief. Coupled with the floods is the fact that the Lidsey Sewerage works is already overloaded.

Sewerage has regularly flooded Barnham and Eastergate and this problem has never been solved. The massive climate change we are now experiencing calls for a complete re-think on the part of the planners, who should now plan for ten-year flood events and not 100- or 1000-year events.

Their whole outlook on planning for the future needs a total revision. We need a district council that listens to the hopes and fears of the people who elected them, and not just to developers.

Everyone’s views are important in this debate about future housing. Please contact me on mrt.verity@talktalk.net or call 01243 545864.

Mike Turner

Chairman of Villages Action Group