The Secretary of State has yet to announce whether he will call-in the New Monks Farm development plans – more than 100 days after the request for a call-in was made.
A call-in would lead to a review by the national planning inspectorate of the decision by Adur District Council to grant permission to the plans for 600 homes and an IKEA in Lancing.
Protocol states that James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, should have made a decision on whether to call in the application within 21 days – however, he can ask for longer to consider the matter.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed that the case was ‘still under consideration’.
The spokesman said: “While we endeavour to issue guidance within the timeframe suggested by the Consultation Direction process, that is sometimes not possible due to the complexity of cases and the need to ensure we have all the relevant information from all parties.”
‘Inappropriate, unsustainable developments’
According to Tim Loughton MP, by mid-January Mr Brokenshire had received 225 representations from people objecting to the application against 14 in favour.
A spokesman for campaign group Adur Residents Environmental Action (AREA) said the 225 letters were from local residents and groups which represented ‘many thousands of concerned community members from as far east as Brighton and Hove through to Worthing’.
The spokesman said: “We are gratified that the Secretary of State is taking this extended time to look at both of these inappropriate, unsustainable proposed developments which AREA and other concerned bodies still maintain should be refused.”
‘We must seize the opportunity’
The Greater Brighton Economic Board has written to the Secretary of State urging him to support the New Monks Farm development.
Councillor Garry Wall, leader of the board – which is made up of various councils and other bodies – said the development totals £182m worth of investment and could bring £28m a year into the local economy.
He wrote in the letter: “The Board has asked me to outline the significant economic benefits that could flow from the development and improvements within these applications.
“There is local support for them and a package of supporting infrastructure benefits that will significantly assist the area.”
He added that the future of Shoreham Airport was at ‘serious risk’ if the developments and the investment it will bring did not go ahead.
“The airport operator and local consultative committee have indicated that these developments represent the best option for keeping the airport in operation,” he wrote.
Henry Powell, chairman of the Coastal West Sussex Partnership, said the partnership continued to ‘strongly’ support the development.
He said: “We don’t get many opportunities like this on the coast and we must seize them when they present themselves.
“As a Partnership, we work together to improve economic prosperity along the coastal strip.
“This application will support sustainable growth across the wider coastal area.
“The development will bring new jobs, new homes and new open space.
“We will also be attracting a major employer in IKEA who will be offering training, jobs at all levels and opportunities for our workforce to develop and thrive.
“In these uncertain times, when major employers are shutting down their UK operations and causing severe job losses, a company like IKEA should be welcomed with open arms. It would be foolishness to shun them.”