Millions of pounds of funding for a new roundabout can now be used to ‘unlock’ a development including more than 600 homes and Sussex’s first IKEA.
Plans for the development, at New Monks Farm, just off the A27 at Lancing, were given the thumbs-up by Adur District Council last year.
However, final sign-off was then delayed while the Secretary of State considered whether the application needed further scrutiny. Ultimately, it was decided the application would not be ‘called in’.
In order to deliver a new roundabout on the A27 the council secured £5.7million from the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Before the funds can be received, the council has to enter into a funding agreement with the LEP, which commits the council and developer to use the funds for their intended purpose. Councillors authorised officers to enter into such an agreement at a meeting on Tuesday.
They also agreed to a similar course of action with Homes England over £10million secured from the Government’s housing infrastructure fund for the Free Wharf development. The council would also enter into side agreements with both New Monks Farm Development Ltd and Southern Housing to ensure there is no ongoing risk to the council.
Martin Randall, the council’s director for the economy, said: “This is an important role we play as a responsible authority in making sure that these funds, which are a draw down from central government, are used for the purpose that is intended.” He described how the funding from the LEP had been secured for a roundabout which would help ‘unlock’ the New Monks Farm development.
A member of the public had asked for the decision to be delayed as formal planning permission had not been granted as a legal agreement has not been signed between the council and developer, although this was expected to happen imminently. They also raised outstanding land ownership issues.
Mr Randall said this ‘was not really material to this report’. He explained: “All we are asking for is for authorisation to use that money in the manner in which it was intended at the appropriate moment nothing more, nothing less on the elements it’s meant to be spent on, in this case a roundabout as far as New Monks Farm is concerned and of course flood defences for Free Wharf.”
The officers’ report says the council expects to issue planning permission for the New Monks Farm development ‘in the next few weeks or so’ following the completion of a legal agreement.
The developer would then hope to start work on site before the end of the year.