New Monks Farm development condemned by critics: ‘The worst decision Adur District Council has ever made’

An artist's impression of the proposed IKEA
An artist's impression of the proposed IKEA

Critics of Lancing’s New Monks Farm development have spoken out following the Government’s announcement that it will return the planning decision to the local authority.

Tensions have run high on both sides of the debate since the proposal, which will include 600 new homes and an IKEA superstore, was first announced.

October’s planning meetings saw high turnouts from passionate crowds, many bearing banners in support and opposition to the plans.

Read more about the IKEA story so far here: All you need to know about the IKEA decision meeting

East Worthing and Shoreham’s Labour party said the latest development was a ‘great mistake’ but hoped legal wrangling could still impact the project.

In a statement, the party referenced a dispute between West Sussex County Council and the developers over contribution to the education provision, which is yet to be agreed.

New land for the Withy Patch travellers has also not been formally arranged.

Councillor Lee Cowen added increased traffic would not be mitigated by the proposed new roundabout on the A27.

“Once the building starts I will fight hard to ensure that all the planning conditions are met, and minimise the enormous inconvenience that this is going to create for the people of Lancing and beyond,” he said.

“The Secretary of State claims they don’t want to take away the power of local councils to make decisions, but they lead the planning process with the inspectors. At the same time, they defund our council so we have no choice but to accept the income the developments bring in. That weakens democracy and makes for bad decisions.”

Read about the Government’s decision here: Major breakthrough in Lancing IKEA planning application

As well as the furniture superstore and 600 homes, the proposal from New Monks Farm Development, a subsidiary of Brighton and Hove Albion FC, also includes the provision of a new roundabout on the A27, a country park, land for a school and a community hub.

It will also see the relocation and expansion of the Withy Patch Gypsy and Traveller site.

Adur Residents Environmental Action has been an outspoken critic of the scheme since its inception and said it was ‘appalled’ by the Government’s decision.

It pointed to fears around the education provision, as well as the potential loss of funding for infrastructure should developer costs run too high.

The group also argued IKEA’s move to smaller, high street-based outlets could see the larger stores become a thing of the past and speculated the proposed superstore could become a distribution centre that would not provide the number of jobs promised.

A spokesman said: “If New Monks Farm goes ahead with 600 homes, a massive IKEA, reduced country park, disruptive roundabout on the A27, unhealthy relocation for Withy Patch residents and sub-standard pedestrian and cyclist crossings for the A27, this will be the worst decision Adur District Council has ever made.

“Where is its duty of care to local residents of Adur, regional communities and A27 commuters?”

The group also pointed to Lancing Parish Council’s recent declaration of a climate emergency and said the increases in traffic and air pollution would not fit in with the policy.

Read more about the climate emergency here: Lancing Parish Council declares a ‘climate emergency’ and calls for everyone to come together