Shoreham community groups band together to protest against ‘overdevelopment’

Protestors from several Shoreham community groups demonstrated on Saturday (November 13) following concerns of ‘overdevelopment’ in the area but Adur District Council says new developments are needed to meet demand for housing and employment space.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 9:58 am
Protest against overdevelopment in Shoreham (Photo by Andy Horton)

The groups have formed Adur Communities Together (ACT) which includes Adur Residents Environmental Action (AREA) and the newly formed Shoreham Poplar Front, among others.

Organisers say that more than 100 people attended the demonstration, accompanied by a brass band.

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Protest against overdevelopment in Shoreham (Photo by Andy Horton)

The Poplar Front formed after plans to build 171 flats at the former Civic Centre site were submitted to Adur District Council (AWDM/1450/21).

The blocks of flats would range in height from three to 11 storeys and would see the felling of a poplar tree which sits between the Duke of Wellington Pub, Brighton Road, and the site.

Developer Hyde Group says the tree will be removed and replaced with newly planted ones.

Shoreham Poplar Front claims that efforts to have a tree preservation order (TPO) put in place have ‘met with a negative response from the council’.

Protest against overdevelopment in Shoreham (Photo by Andy Horton)

Lead Poplar Front campaigner Darcy Harrison said: “This tree is in perfect condition with 30 plus more years of life.

“It has managed to survive, in spite of being surrounded by hard concrete.

“A tree assessment carried out by James Butler, a principal arboricultural consultant, confirmed it fulfils the national standard of 16 points awarded for sustainability.

“But Adur [District] Council is still hesitating in granting it a tree preservation order.”

Protest against overdevelopment in Shoreham (Photo by Andy Horton)

The tree is thought to be the last of its kind in the area and Mr Harrison says it has benefits for biodiversity.

But an ADC spokesperson said the tree ‘did not meet the national criteria’ for a TPO because it sits on council land and ‘there is no immediate risk of it being felled’.

“Instead, the tree will be one of a number of issues councillors on the planning committee will consider when a decision on the application is made,” the spokesperson said.

‘Overdevelopment’

Protest against overdevelopment in Shoreham (Photo by Andy Horton)

The groups were also protesting about potential ‘overdevelopment’ in the area.

Placards objected to the proposed Civic Centre development, though this is not the only one planned for Shoreham.

One organiser said: “The community groups have come together to give local people a voice.

“They are responding to the large number of disparate development proposals.”

They added that ‘more than 1,000′ new flats and houses are proposed along a stretch of the A259, from Kingston Buci lighthouse to Frosts Garage.

“There are four more sites in the pipeline due for development,” they said.

“Such new development puts a strain on local infrastructure, pressure on school places, doctors’ surgeries, parking, traffic flow, air pollution and the water network.”

The demonstration follows a public meeting held by ACT which it says was attended by more than 165 local residents and showed ‘the strength of local feeling’ on the issue.

An ADC spokesman said that, whilst the council can’t comment in detail on live planning applications, the Civic Centre site was included in the Adur Local Plan for 2017 and would ‘meet local demand for housing and employment space’.

They added that the planning committee would use the local plan as well as national planning guidance when deciding on the proposal in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson for the Hyde Group said it is currently awaiting a decision from the council and could not comment on overdevelopment which protesters say is taking place in the area.

A public consultation took place for the Civic Centre development in March 2020, said the spokesperson.