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Open letter warns ‘undemocratic’ council not to rush IKEA decision

Tuesday, 10 July 2018 08:32

Open letter warns ‘undemocratic’ council not to rush IKEA decision Image courtesy Tim Loughton MP

An unprecedented open letter has been sent to Adur District Council urging it to cancel this month’s crunch meeting on proposals for a major new development including an IKEA superstore at New Monks Farm in Lancing.

The letter, sent to the council this week is signed by more than a dozen local organisations including CPRE Sussex, Sussex Wildlife Trust, Lancing Parish Council, Adur Floodwatch, Friends of the Earth and a number of community groups.

It warns that the meeting is premature and has been scheduled before key statutory consultees such as the South Downs National Park Authority, Highways England and Natural England have had a chance to make their final comments on the revised proposals.

The council is also urged not to make a decision “in haste” before these comments have been made public to allow local people and organisations time to respond to key evidence. The letter states that Adur Planning Committee's meeting on July 18th “is not in the spirit of localism and transparency,” and that: “The undersigned organisations insist that the above applications should be withdrawn from their scheduled July committee dates and rescheduled to give more appropriate consultation time frames once comments from statutory consultees are publicly available”.

There is also concern that Lancing Parish Council may not be allowed to take part in the meeting due to Adur District Council’s use of a ballot system to choose speakers for and against the proposal. Under the present arrangement no exception has been made to accommodate the parish council as a democratic voice.

“Adur should be working with the community to meet Adur’s needs, not the developers,” says CPRE Sussex Chair, David Johnson. “Why is there a rush to push these applications through when so much is yet to be clarified? As yet there are no clear plans or funding for Highways England to sort out the A27 through Worthing and Lancing and many unanswered questions for concerned organisations. Are developers worried that IKEA may pull out, or that Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership will withdraw their millions of funding when they realise that no high skilled jobs will be created?

“CPRE has consistently campaigned against both applications with loss of vital green space and their impacts on particularly road infrastructure, drainage and landscape views. They are in inappropriate locations.”

Download a copy of the open letter below.

Image courtesy of Tim Loughton MP

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