Major housing plans up for final debate tonight

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MAJOR plans governing the future of housing in Lancing and Sompting are to be discussed by councillors for the final time tonight before they are submitted to the Secretary of State.

If the Adur Local Plan is approved at tonight’s Adur District Council meeting, there will be a six-week period in which further comments can be made before the document is passed to the Government in March.

New comments will not influence the plan but will be included when it is submitted.

The council’s cabinet member for regeneration, councillor Pat Beresford, said: “It’s always extremely difficult to make this balance work. We need to provide the housing figures required by the Government while at the same time protecting our lovely environment including the two gaps.

“We do try very hard to ensure that new housing is accompanied by the appropriate infrastructure by identifying additional community benefits like play spaces, community facilities, transport improvements and schools. We live in a very busy part of the south east, with people migrating westwards from Brighton and Hove, as well as from London, and frankly it isn’t easy to meet all the housing needs.

“I am confident we have done our utmost to manage this thus creating a vibrant place to live, work and play.”

Few major changes have been made to the plan since last year’s public consultation, but officers at last Monday’s planning meeting said the hundreds of residents’ responses had not been ignored. Bill Freeman, of Adur Floodwatch Group, implored the committee to delay the plan for six months pending the results of an in-depth flooding study commissioned by West Sussex County Council.

But Mr Beresford said the council was not going to change the land or the engineering questions that needed to be answered.

Head of planning James Appleton said the county council had withdrawn its objection to housing at New Monks Farm on flooding grounds, while Geoff Patmore said he was amazed by the lack of comments from his fellow councillors.

He said he was totally opposed to building on land at New Monks Farm and Shoreham Aiport, due to the ‘very real risk of flooding’.

“I don’t think people are aware of the enormity of what has already happened on a designated flood plain,” he said.

Planning policy manager Colette Blackett assured councillors the plan would not be going to the next stage without ‘robust evidence’.