Difficult to give genuine feedback
The Shoreham Society and Shoreham Beach Residents Association, two organisations dedicated to giving a voice to the residents of Shoreham by Sea, maintained a continuous presence throughout Southern's Housing's recent two days of presentation of their revised proposals for the development of Free Wharf, aka the Minelco site, in order to hear what people were saying.
There was a measure of relief that residents’ fears about previously threatened tower blocks had been taken on board.
However, what we heard over and over again was the view that this is still too much and too high for Shoreham, dwarfing as it does the Parcelforce development which has been universally greeted with shock and horror. People expressed reluctance to being taken in by the tactical argument that eight storeys is at least better than the higher proposals previously threatened – the new proposal must be assessed anew, entirely on its own merits or otherwise – is it right for Shoreham?
The densities proposed are still thought too high as residents continue to be extremely concerned about the additional impact on roads and other infrastructure, particularly as no profound solution to the A27 problems appears to be on the cards.
Southern’s arguments that their new scheme will produce no additional rush hour pressure is not at all convincing; nor is the fact that they expect a maximum of one car place per dwelling to be sufficient.
Furthermore, Southern are now saying that they can no longer provide the originally planned 30 per cent affordable housing units, so few of the dwellings provided in this scheme would help with real local housing problems experienced by the people of Adur.
Worst of all, what was presented as an exercise in capturing local responses was not a real consultation, for the questionnaire provided had no questions at all about what people thought of the scheme, and no extra space for such comments to be added – an exercise, it seemed, in making it very difficult to give genuine feedback.
We therefore keenly look forward to further discussions with Adur planning officers and with WSCC about how we can make this as good a development for Shoreham as it can possibly be, before a planning application is made.
Chair, Shoreham Society
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