Barnham residents reject bid to build homes and re-route road

PLANS for extra housing and the re-routing of a major road were rejected by Barnham residents.

Barnham Parish Council held an extraordinary parish meeting to let residents have their say on Arun District Council’s land use blueprint.

More than 80 residents packed into Barnham Village Hall to discuss the two key issues of the district council’s draft local plan affecting the village – a new A29 bypass, and the building of some 2,000-plus homes in the greenfield gap between Barnham, Eastergate and Aldingbourne.

Barnham parish councillor, and chairman of Eastergate Parish Council, Chris Allington, said: ”There is no credible evidence to support either the four options for re-routing the A29, or for building the 2,500 additional houses.

“If Arun’s planning officers wish to propose such a radical and controversial scheme, which will have such a damaging effect on the Six Villages, then they should back this up with solid, competent and credible evidence. There is no such evidence offered to support this part of their proposed economic strategy.”

David Phillips, the chairman of Barnham Parish Council, agreed, saying the parish council rejected all options for a new bypass put forward in Arun’s draft local plan.

The 350-plus page document sets out four possible routes for the A29. Option A would see it pass through Aldingbourne, B the Woodgate crossing and C and D would take it to the east of Eastergate.

Cllr Phillips urged the district council to go back to the drawing board to design a more logical and sustainable link between Bognor Regis and the A27.

He demanded Arun withdraw the proposal for at least 2,000 homes and instead push for the more sustainable and realistic housing target of 150 homes also in the plan.

This was a figure accepted by the parishes after lengthy consultation last year.

Cllr Phillips said: “There is a huge financial black hole in the draft plan. The costs to provide essential infrastructure for this number of new houses – schools, surgeries, open air facilities is many tens of millions of pounds more than the houses will generate from developer contributions.

“In addition, the whole drainage and sewage system will need to be rebuilt to cope with the increased load, which is not considered.”

Representatives from local residents’ groups and the Villages Action Group (VAG) were also given a chance to speak.