Campaigners against controversial housing developments sung special carols in an unusual protest before a key vote tonight (Thursday, December 14).
Scores of residents gathered before the meeting of Adur District Council, where councillors were set to discuss the adoption of the Adur Local Plan. Click here to find out what the plan is all about.
They feared plans to deliver nearly 4,000 new homes by 2032 would place unsustainable pressure on already congested roads and increase air pollution.
“Common sense it must prevail, will our infrastructure fail,” they sang.
The local plan is the council’s blueprint for housing and economic growth.
- A minimum of 3,718 homes up until 2032, just over half the housing need of 6,825 homes
- At least 41,000sqm of commercial space
- A requirement to deliver 30 per cent affordable housing for developments of ten homes or more
- Two greenfield sites allocated for potential development: New Monks Farm, Lancing, and land west of Sompting
- A major development at Shoreham Harbour
The local plan, having been examined by a government inspector in February, was before full council tonight for adoption.
If approved, the plan would act as a guide for future growth of the district.
Adur District Council leader Neil Parkin said the plan was not perfect but he believed it was the best option.
He warned without the plan the council could lose control of where it wanted housing to go.
He said: “I personally would like less development but I believe this is the best option for our future. It is not perfect but in this case nothing would be a disaster.”
Opposition parties opposed to controversial sites being included for potential development made a last-ditch effort to keep them out of the plan.
UKIP leader Geoff Patmore said building on the floodplain would be a ‘disaster’ for the plan.
He said reference to the words ‘minimum of’ could lead to ‘limitless’ development and said such references should be replaced by ‘up to’.
Council planning officer Moira Hayes said the wording was advised by the inspector, with the housing shortfall and that the government is ‘pro growth’.
A vote to adopt Mr Patmore’s suggestion was lost.
Lee Cowen, Labour councillor for Mash Barn, feared developing New Monks Farm could set a precedent for building on the floodplain – even if they are not in the plan.
He proposed an amendment, calling for New Monks Farm to be removed from the plan until the ‘necessary infrastructure’ was in place.
Mr Parkin argued it would not stop housebuilding on the site, with the council set to debate a planning application next year.
Independent councillor Joss Loader said she was unconvinced by plans for New Monks Farm but believed rejecting the local plan could increase ‘predatory development’. She said: “I will be voting in favour with a very heavy heart.”
The amendment was again lost.
The recommendation to adopt the local plan was subject of a recorded vote.
It was adopted by a majority of 16 votes to 11. Tory Ann Bridges abstained.
Adoption of the plan does not mean land earmarked for housing will be automatically approved. Individual planning applications will need to be submitted.
See https://twitter.com/olipoole for full live coverage of tonight’s debate.