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IKEA development struggling with viability

Tuesday, 07 August 2018 13:40

IKEA development struggling with viability Image via Tim Loughton MP

CPRE Sussex is urging Adur Council to think again over plans to build an IKEA and 600 homes on water meadows at New Monks Farm in Lancing after it emerged that the scheme’s predicted development costs have more than doubled, raising serious questions over its viability.

Latest figures published by the council show that the estimated cost of the development has spiralled from £20million in 2016 to £46million this year. This means that all the required benefits for the local community - such as a new school and affordable socially rented housing - are unlikely to be provided.

“The viability of this application is on a knife edge,” says director CPRE Sussex, Kia Trainor. “If the true costs of the project had been within the viability assessment submitted for the Local Plan inspection last year, it’s unlikely that the New Monks Farm site would have been approved for inclusion in the local plan”.

The figures come from the Council’s own 2016 Viability Assessment (published in January 2017) and a statement from the Council’s Planning Consultants, Gleeds, published last month. The Gleeds report states that the project is likely to give negligible returns for the developer and the “scheme would certainly not be viable without Local Growth Fun funding”. It also confirms that the developer is unlikely to be able to provide the new school it had originally promised.

The escalating costs are partly due to the problems associated with building on a flood plain and partly due to an underestimation of the infrastructure costs and mitigating measures needed for the development.

CPRE Chair, David Johnson says the figures speak for themselves:

“You do not have to be an accountant to see that if the £3.9m being requested by the County for the education provision and other public facilities has to be applied, there’s no money left to support a major problem which may become apparent as the build out progresses.”

No wonder there is a reticence to do a proper under/overpass for NMUs across the Sussex Pad into the National Park to comply with the Adur Plan policies,” he adds, “the funds simply are not available.”

Adur Council deferred its decision on the planning application at a council meeting last month (July 18).

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