SOMPTING parish councillors submitted their views on controversial plans to build 480 houses to the west of the village, following a hotly-debated meeting last Wednesday night.
Members discussed the council’s official response to the draft Adur Local Plan, which outlines proposals for development in the area until 2030.
Cllr David Bamber had prepared an 18-page document of amendments to the plan, which he presented to the council and a group of eight local residents.
The document focused on points members disagreed with, above all the number of houses to be built.
The public raised concerns about traffic, the environment, and strain on schools and health services.
Most councillors accepted a plan was needed to allow the council some control over the future of the village.
Cllr James Butcher said: “Unfortunately we are going to have to have housing. The real question is how many and how much control the residents and parish council will have. In most cases I think everyone agrees it’s too much.”
Cllr Gareth Smith said Adur Council had been caught in a catch 22 situation, and that if it did not provide a viable plan, the government would impose housing as and when it saw fit.
But he added: “I’m yet to meet a resident who is in favour of the plan.”
Council chairman Barry Mear spoke against expansion of Sompting.
“We are a small village. We can’t expand our population in this area any more. We have no more room, we are full up,” he said.
Cllr Chris Servante said: “The first we knew about this plan was on September 25. It’s been absolutely impossible for us to get information out to Sompting. Most people are furious about the way Adur has under-informed them.”
At one stage the meeting threatened to descend into farce, as councillors squabbled over the terms of the official response.
Tempers flared as talks turned to immigration and the models used by Adur Council to predict population growth in the area.
And when the time came to vote, there was confusion over whether members should vote on the plan or the parish council’s response.
Mr Smith said the situation was becoming embarrassing and called for an end to the ‘faffing about’.
A vote was then held on each of the response document’s 18 pages, which were approved by a majority.