Councillors oppose New Monks Farm development in local plan

An aerial shot showing New Monks Farm. Supplied by Geoff Patmore
An aerial shot showing New Monks Farm. Supplied by Geoff Patmore

A motion objecting to the development of New Monks Farm being included in the Adur Local Plan was voted for by Lancing Parish council after a heated debate on Wednesday.

The motion, put forward by councillor Geoff Patmore but amended during the full council meeting, stated that any development would cause a flood risk to Lancing.

Mr Patmore said: “This is a carbon copy of what we voted on in 2013. We need to keep it alive and well.”

He said the proposal to build 600 homes on the site was ‘an amazingly naive project’ which would create ‘overwhelming threats on many counts.’

The motion concerned New Monks Farm only, he said, the not the rest of the local plan.

The fear of flooding was a ‘very real risk’ he told the council, adding that if development went ahead: “The precedent will reverbate across the flood plain and other developers will get planning permission.”

But councillor Emma Purnell said the motion initially put forward was ‘premature’ and it might do ‘more harm than good’ to vote before the council had received a planning application.

She raised concerns that making a decision at this stage would mean ‘our hands are tied’ when a planning application was received – and that the council should make up its mind only when a planning application was submitted.

“It’s a shame this has been put forward this evening,” she said. “It complicates and confuses things.”

Councillor Gina Scotting said people in the area would want the council to object in totality to any development on the land.

She said: “There hasn’t been one successful build on a flood plain.
“What’s the point in going ahead with something that’s going to destroy so many people’s lives?”

But councillor Lionel Parsons said it was important to make the council’s view known to the planning inspector, who is currently undertaking an examination of the Adur Local Plan.

He said: “I feel this is solely about expressing our concerns that 600 houses could be built in that area and excarcerbate flooding.

“That’s the fundamental point to get over to the planning inspector.”

All bar one voted in favour of the motion. There was one abstention.

The council also voted unanimously that when an planning application related to New Monks Farm is received, it comes straight to the full council instead of the planning committee.

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