This is why the MP and community groups want Lancing IKEA plans thrown out

Tim Loughton MP, environmental organisations and community groups have written a joint letter of objection to the proposed development at New Monks Farm.

Wednesday, 26th September 2018, 4:01 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th September 2018, 9:30 pm
An aerial shot showing New Monks Farm. Supplied by Geoff Patmore

It comes ahead of a planning meeting next week, where councillors on Adur District Council’s planning committee are due to make a decision on the controversial plans for an IKEA superstore and 600 homes in Lancing.

Mr Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, and the groups have sent the letter of objection with accompanying documents to all of the councillors in Adur and two secretaries of state – the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling and the Housing and Local Government Secretary, James Brokenshire.

An artist's impression of the proposed IKEA

Among the issues they raise are the impact of the development on Shoreham Airport, the reduction in size of the country park, sewage and draining concerns, financial viability, the size and scale of the IKEA building, the impact on pollution levels and the affect on cycle and pedestrian routes.

Mr Loughton said: “This is probably the most extensive development proposed for Adur in decades.

“It is also one of the most controversial having attracted objections from a wide range of residents, elected representatives and local organisations many of whom are signatories to this joint letter of objection.

“Serious questions have been raised that councillors on the development control panel must answer before they can even consider agreeing to pass this application.

Artist's impression of the 600 homes

“There are considerable problems with this application not least the financial viability of the whole project, which if not addressed could result in bad outcomes for all involved, particularly local residents.

“More than just about any other retailer IKEA attracts shoppers by car because of the nature of its large sized goods.

“It is to be approached by a single entrance road from the A27 via a new roundabout.

“This will generate considerable additional traffic on an already heavily congested road seven days a week.

“And given that there have so far been no viable plans to upgrade this stretch of the A27 from the investigations being undertaken by Highways England the current road structure will have to cope with the heavily increased capacity, which of course it will not be able to do, even with the inclusion of the ‘magic roundabout.’”

Among those who have signed the letter are: Mash Barn councillor Lee Cowen; Widewater councillor Andy McGregor; Christine Gunter, Adur Residents Environmental Action Committee Member; David Johnson, Chair of Campaign to Protect Rural England Sussex; Gerry Thompson, Shoreham Society Planning Committee; Barbara O’Kelly, Adur Residents Environmental Action; Geoff Hodgson, Adur Residents Environmental Action; Gerard Rosenberg, chairman of the Shoreham Society; Bill Freeman, Chairman of Adur Floodwatch; Alan Robb, Adur Floodwatch Group, and Chris Todd, Friends of the Earth.

Adur Residents Environmental Action (AREA) has prepared a 16-page document detailing various reasons why it believes the plans should be rejected.

It focused on several issues which the group argued ‘flout the less than one-year-old Adur Local Plan and the recently updated National Planning Policy Framework’.

The group hopes the document will ‘aid and support’ the councillors in their deliberations.

Barb O’Kelly, chairman of AREA, said: “The New Monks Farm development will change Adur forever.

“AREA hope the councillors will seriously consider the documents in this booklet and will act as custodians of our community.

“AREA believe that the strong feelings of the majority of residents against this development should be taken into consideration.”

Meanwhile a petition set up by Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth to save the Sussex Pad crossing of the A27 at Shoreham, which will be lost if the application is approved, has gained more than 1,100 signatures in less than a fortnight.

Campaigners said the Sussex Pad is the best, safe road crossing of the A27 for cyclists for miles around and is used by thousands of people every week from all over Sussex.

Chris Todd from Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth said: “It is still not too late for the developers to improve to their plans.

“Equally, the authorities involved could insist that the Sussex Pad is kept or an improved crossing provided.

“It is clear that the current proposals are not fit for purpose and contrary to the Local Plan and national policy.

“As such they should be roundly rejected.”