Should green ‘gaps’ be sacrificed for affordable homes?

Discussions of the draft Adur Local Plan continued today. Picture: Google Maps
Discussions of the draft Adur Local Plan continued today. Picture: Google Maps

A government inspector listened to council officers and developers debate whether the demand for housing should should outweigh the need to preserve green spaces in Adur.

Council officers were joined by potential developers at the Shoreham Centre as the consultation on Adur District Council’s proposed local plan continued this morning.

Today’s debate focused on the balance between meeting housing needs and protecting key ‘green gaps’ which provide separation between urban areas.

Government planning inspector David Hogger, who is overseeing the consultation, led the meeting.

“The council’s view is that with any ‘gap’ the starting point should be no development,” said Kate Collins from Adur District Council.

However Andrew Williams, executive director of Boyer Planning, said the council has underestimated the need for affordable housing in the area.

He said that housing need estimates based on a survey in 2012 should be reviewed: “We believe that they should revisit it and make clear why they should not be looking at every possible site [for building new homes].”

James Appleton, head of strategic planning and economic development at Adur District Council, said Adur council was looking at a range between 450 and 600 new homes to be built.

He added that there was a need to balance the need for homes with preserving green gaps, saying that the council had taken a ‘robust approach’ to get this balance right.

Also present was Laura Brook from the Sussex Wildlife Trust, who said: “There is a real need to understand about the demand that is currently on those sites for their environmental services.”

She told the inspector that if this demand (e.g. for the production of clean air) is not fully appreciated in any new development it could ‘compromise the long term sustainability of development in this area’.

The consultation is expected to conclude tomorrow.

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