Arun District Update December 2020

16th December 2020

Despite the restrictions on normal life induced by the Covid-19 pandemic, developments in the planning world have been continuing at a fast and furious pace, thanks to Boris’s “Build, Build, Build !” agenda.

A major threat to our countryside is the Planning White Paper, whose consultation has recently closed, which proposed a set of major changes to the planning system. The changes all aim to make development much easier and more profitable but this is achieved at the expense of proper site assessment and the interests of local communities.

CPRE Sussex have spent much of the late summer and early autumn constructing careful, evidenced rebuttals of these proposals, now submitted as formal comments.  We have worked with wildlife and other countryside protection groups and canvassed our local councils and MPs.

The most important way the planning system can help reduce climate change is to ensure that the new homes are built with low carbon emissions, close to people’s work and the other services they need. Continuing to focus new building at highly car-dependent countryside locations is exactly the wrong thing to do. Unfortunately, while the government is making all the right noises about the general principles, almost every one of its White Paper proposals will achieve the exact opposite.

Thank you to all who responded to the consultations and/or wrote to their MPs to make known their concerns.

Arun Strategic Sites: there is little to be said about the major sites in Arun as they are all part of the 2018 Local Plan, which was hotly contested by ourselves (CPRE Sussex) and a great majority of Arun’s Parish Councils. We, alongside the people of Arun, know that the projected build out rates will never be achieved as this is controlled solely by the developers with their profits in mind.

This has resulted in the inevitable demise of the unachievable 5 Year Housing Land Supply, such that Arun, as concluded by an Inspector at a recent appeal decision, only has a 2.9 Year housing land supply.  That spells disaster for the District – as Arun District Council will need to bring forward an action plan that sets outs actions to invite applications on deliverable sites outside the Built-up Area Boundaries (BUAB) leading to the loss of more greenfields and countryside but still failing to solve the so-called housing problem.  We need to build for need not greed, the right homes in the right place which local people can afford.

We will continue to argue for new homes that are affordable, are built close to people’s work and other services and not in countryside locations which increases car-dependency and will never help tackle climate change emergency.

Quiet Lanes

Country Lanes are an integral part of our rural environment but the volume and speed of traffic, and the presence of heavy lorries, can make them uninviting and intimidating. ‘Quiet Lanes’ are a positive way of:

  • providing a chance for people to walk, cycle and horse ride in a safer environment;
  • widening transport choice; and
  • protecting the character and tranquillity of country lanes.

I am in the early stages of following up and exploring CPRE’s successful campaigning which means local authorities are able to designate country lanes as ‘Quiet Lanes’ in rural areas, under the Transport Act 2000.  Further information about this can be found on the CPRE website: quiet_lanes_1.pdf (cpre.org.uk).  I will keep you informed of progress in future up-dates.

Michael Warden

Group Leader, CPRE Arun District