Thanks to all those who came along to my public meeting in Lancing Parish Hall last Thursday to talk about the New Monks Farm development and state of the A27, and apologies to the many who had to stand.
I was grateful also to Martin Perry, the Brighton & Hove director in charge of the project, who came along to explain why building 600 houses, a school, a community hub, a community park and a massive branch of IKEA attracting two million customer visits a year will have no detrimental impact on the smooth running of the A27.
Not surprisingly, despite a brave stab at it, I am afraid he failed and failed dismally.
Not a single one of the more than 300 people at the meeting spoke up in favour of the proposals and that is also the mood of the many hundreds more who have returned the surveys we have been distributing across Lancing and Sompting.
It was probably not a good idea to open his talk with the claim that ‘I am on your side’ and given the laughter that attracted I am afraid it was downhill thereafter.
It was difficult to chair the meeting neutrally as I have consistently set out my opposition to the plans and it was helpful to have Adur’s planning officer James Appleton there to explain dispassionately the planning procedures for assessing this application.
It was helpful to hear that both the county council and Highways England have lodged holding objections whilst requesting more information about how the transport plan will work.
Whilst most people are resigned to some development on New Monks Farm it is the scale of the plans and particularly the traffic impact of IKEA on the A27 that alarms most people, as it does me.
When I asked why we could not have a small business park with higher skilled jobs and two million customers in place of a warehouse retailer with mostly lower skilled posts it was clear that it was not as profitable and finances are the overriding consideration.
Make sure you get your views in to Adur District Council before Tuesday, September 26, and fill in our survey if you haven’t done so already, which we will submit as part of the consultation.
Less controversially I was delighted to visit electronic measuring device manufacturer ETI in Worthing on Monday.
It was a case of déjà vu all over again as owners Peter and Miriam Webb were presented with their third Queen’s Award for Enterprise by the Lord Lieutenant.
ETI is a great success story committed to Worthing and it is good to see a world beating family firm go from strength to strength.
• If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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