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COUNCILLORS were forced to make a quick exit out the back door when plans for 700 new houses in Durrington were approved.

Fierce tempers were raised at the Worthing Council planning committee meeting, which saw council members pass the outline stage of the West Durrington Development project by four votes to two.

Voting for the application were Tory councillors Bryan Turner, Clive Roberts, Nicky Waight and Carol Molineaux, while Liberal Democrats Trevor England and Hazel Thorpe voted against the proposal.

The planning application will now be refined by the West Durrington Consortium – the name given to collaborating developers Heron, Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon – before full approval is granted by the council.

The project, planned for the area around Titnore Wood in West Durrington, will see 700 new homes being built, with potential plans for an extra 300 homes in the future.

The new development will also feature a community centre, a multi-use games area, and nature conservation areas.

Land and financial provision has also been made by the developers for a school and medical centre.

Executive head of planning James Appleton, presenting the application, said extra care had been taken to preserve the ancient woodland surrounding the site, as well as protecting the wildlife in the area.

Speaking against the application, Durrington councillor Charles James said the plans would “ruin” farming potential.

Mr James added: “Seventy-one per cent of Durrington residents are against this project.

“If this goes ahead, it is completely against the government’s call to empower local democracy.”

Leader of the Don’t Over Develop Durrington group, John Hughes, 68, of Welland Road, said the land proposed is constantly flooded in the wetter months.

He said: “The developers don’t know the area like we do. What will people do when their homes are flooded?”

However, the developers said the area had been checked by environmental experts for flooding and had been given the all-clear.

For the full story, see this week’s Worthing Herald out today (Thursday, October 27).

To have your say, email letters@worthingherald.co.uk.

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