A community farm, a nature trail and an orchard are some of the ‘exciting benefits’ the proposed development at West Sompting would fund.
This is the message of the Sompting Estate, which has partnered with Sustainable Sussex to design ‘imaginative facilities’ at the site.
These would be included as a planning condition and funded by the development, he said.
Sompting Estate and Persimmon Homes have presented proposals for 520 new homes on the land at West Sompting, which is allocated in the Adur Local Plan.
Mike Tristram, Sompting Estate Trustee, said these community features – which also include more accessible green space and playing fields – would be ‘the beginning of a bright new future’ for the village.
“Sompting’s community will be bigger, but it will be better connected to the countryside,” Mr Tristram said.
Keith Colin of Sustainable Sussex said: “The facilities we hope to create with this funding will be there for everyone in Sompting.
“People who want to volunteer with us, people who need to learn skills and grow in confidence, young and old, people who want to learn about and enjoy their natural environment more.”
He said the organisation had learnt much about the benefits of getting people involved with the land from its Sussex Chilli Farm project.
“We are looking forward to doing this on a larger scale, and welcoming people in to the community farm and orchard,” he said.
Liane Webb, of Sustainable Sussex and The Sustainable Mind, said: “Contact with nature is so important for personal well-being.The Nature Trail, with a boardwalk and pond-dipping area, will be like Sompting’s own Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.
“And the community farm will allow people contact with animals.”
Trustees at the Sompting Estate accepted more homes were needed and that some farmland would have to be sold, Mr Tristram said.
But he said this could lead to ‘exciting opportunities’ to invest in the parish.
Wider plans for the area, separate to West Sompting, include investing in a vineyard, a holiday business, and a local produce shop and café in the Sompting Downs.
Nearer the village, they hope to bring back more mixed farming including conservation cattle grazing and vegetable growing, and plant more hedges and trees.
Mr Tristram said: “These changes will be good for the wildlife and landscape, and good for people.”
More than 200 residents attended a display at the Harriet Johnson Centre on the proposals for West Sompting.
Matt Richardson, Land and Planning Manager for Persimmon Homes Thames Valley, said: “We were delighted that many local people took the opportunity to comment on our proposals.
“The construction jobs will bring a much-needed boost to the local economy.
“To help meet local housing and community needs sustainably, the development will also make financial contributions to traffic and social infrastructure, and will include 30 per cent affordable homes.”
Persimmon Homes and the Sompting Estate will now be considering the community’s responses to the consultation, before submitting a planning application.