Adur & Worthing District Update February 2019
Latest update on strategic developments including New Monks Farm/IKEA and Shoreham Airport planning applications and new homes in West Sompting.
CPRE Sussex has concerns over 2 strategic sites approved within the Adur Local Plan adopted in 2017. These are located within greenfield areas along the A27. Here’s is the latest update.
Still not a ‘Done Deal’ for New Monks Farm/ IKEA and the Shoreham Airport Planning Applications
Both these developments were approved by Adur District Planning Committee on the 3rd October 2018 (subject to a decision by the Secretary of State as to whether to ‘call in’ the applications for further examination) despite massive objections from CPRE Sussex, Adur Residents Environmental Action, Friends of the Earth Brighton & Hove and the Sussex Wildlife Trust, The South Downs National Park, the operators at Shoreham Airport and over 1300 objections from the Adur Community members.
Lancing College, a major employer in the area withdrew their objections after the developer (Brighton & Hove Albion) signed a legal agreement to fund a fourth arm into the National Park for the proposed new roundabout mentioned below to solve their access problems
The New Monks Farm proposal includes an IKEA, 12 metres in height with a 1000 vehicle carpark (7 times the minimum site size agreed in the Local Plan), 600 homes (30% affordable and to be built by Cala Homes), an entry level primary school, a 28 hectares country park and a relocated traveller community site for 16 mobile homes.
The airport development is proposed in the north east corner of Shoreham Airport and commercial buildings of up to 11 metres in height would be on a 2.5 hectare site close to a runway which runs from south east to north west. This is also significantly above the area of 1.5 hectares within the Local Plan.
Both developments would be served by a new traffic light controlled three arm roundabout on the A27 and a new pumping station on the river to assist with the drainage of both sites.
Because both sites are large in size and in out of town centre locations, they have to be finally ’rubber stamped’ by Rt Hon James Brokenshire the Secretary of State for Local Government & Communities so contrary to the public’s misconception from media reports, these developments are by no means a ‘Done Deal’.
In mid October 2018, Adur District Council submitted the planning documentation for both sites to the Planning Inspectorate who assess and make recommendations to the Secretary of State as to whether he should ‘call them in’ for another public examination. Since then, over 3 months later, no decision has been given by him other than, in November, CPRE learned that Adur had been informed that more time was being taken to assess these approvals. The norm is the SoS announces a decision within 21 days.
This long delay can only mean that there are concerns with the schemes. So, the longer it takes for a decision announcement the better. We do know that the impacts on airport safeguarding are a particular issue and Grant Shapps, MP, the chair of the All Parliamentary Group for General Aviation has submitted strong representations against both schemes. CPRE submitted a letter to the SoS to support a ‘call in’ for the development to ask for a new public re-examination of both sites. Subsequent to that submission, over 220 letters requesting such an action have been submitted by all the organisations and community members mentioned above. These letters originated from as far west as Worthing and far east as Brighton. Tim Loughton, the East Worthing and Shoreham MP has also been talking with the SoS to express major concerns particularly to do with the inappropriate location of the proposed flag ship IKEA with its impacts on the already over capacity A27 and the area generally. www.cpresussex.org.uk/act-now-to-ensure-proper-scrutiny-of-proposed-huge-ikea-at-lancing
Prior to the planning meeting on the 3rd October, at the request of David Johnson, Chair of CPRE Sussex, Mr Loughton worked with all the groups mentioned above and wrote to all the Adur Councillors asking them to refuse these applications on many grounds with key planning evidence from CPRE and all the objecting organisations. www.cpresussex.org.uk/why-applications-for-shoreham-airport-and-new-monks-farm-should-be-refused
Depending on the decision from the SoS, all the campaigning groups including CPRE Sussex are exploring the possibilities of a legal challenge to an approval or to give legally supported representations at a public re-examination if that is the outcome of the Government minister’s decision.
In summary, considering the totally unsustainable impacts and shortfalls in terms of local infrastructure for roads, drainage, education, health and public services, we are hopeful that there will be some sensible decisions taken on these developments which will help safeguard the vital green gap and its significant biodiversity between Lancing and Shoreham. CPRE vigorously demonstrated, both during the local plan preparation and at the Government examination in 2017, that these areas were totally unsuitable for development and should be excluded from the Adur Local Plan. Maybe the SoS is starting to identify those reasons in his own assessment of these highly complex inter related development proposals?
Awaited Development Application for 520 homes in West Sompting
This development approved in the Adur Local Plan and the Sompting Neighbourhood Plan was for a minimum of 480 new homes (30% affordable). The appointed contractor is Persimmons Homes who will be submitting a planning application for 520 homes. This is still to be submitted to Adur DC.
The major concerns with this site are the impact on views and light pollution on the National Park immediately to the north of the A27. Also, how the increased traffic will be managed in what already is already a gridlocked area daily with no suitable local road alternatives to manage that traffic increase.
Compared with New Monks Farm development, there is perhaps less impact on the green gap between Sompting and Worthing than the one between Lancing and Shoreham since the proposed housing is likely to wrap itself around existing residential development on the east side of the green gap and run quite deeply southwards. Nevertheless, the increase in housing numbers we understand will eliminate some areas where natural green buffers were being considered and this may have a bearing on protection of views and particularly those connected with the South Downs National Park.
At present, we can only wait for the submission of the planning application and then give CPRE comments as necessary,
Worthing Borough Council has recently carried out a public consultation on its local plan. There are some allocations within the draft which impact on green spaces and ecology which CPRE have concerns with. CPRE Sussex submitted comments in agreement with the omission of a greenfield site west of Fulbeck Avenue which the authority identified as being environmentally sensitive particularly with its juxstaposition with the South Downs National Park and its views/landscaping.
CPRE objected to the inclusion of a site east of Titnore Lane (projected 50 dwellings) because of its functional relationship with a local wildlife site.)
Further comment and suggestions were submitted to strengthen the wording of policies to do with protection of the setting of the neighbouring South Downs National Park and also specific policies to protect and enhance the natural capital of the Borough in its development of the local plan.
This is very much ‘work in progress’ at this stage and as the plan develops there will be further opportunities to make comment on the overall plan as it progresses through other periods of consultation.
Download the CPRE Sussex response to the Worthing Local Plan below: