Back in 2018, Arun’s local plan allocated up to 3,000 new dwellings across the Barnham Eastergate and Westergate (BEW) strategic sites.
As this stretches from near Fontwell down to Lidsey and parcels of land are in different ownerships a framework masterplan has been prepared, demonstrating how up to 4,300 homes could be built in total.
A public consultation is currently being held on behalf of the Southern Consortium, formed of the Church Commissioners for England and Hanbury Properties, for land south of Barnham Road and north of the railway line.
This parcel stretches from near St George’s Church in Eastergate to near Barnham Railway Station and St Philip Howard Catholic School.
This is prior to a hybrid planning application being submitted to Arun District Council.
Full permission would be sought for a section of the realigned A29 running from Barnham Road to a spur south of the railway line to connect to the rest of the new road.
Outline permission would be for the 1,250 homes, a local centre, primary school and east-west link road.
A linear park would be created in the western part of the site and include a cricket pitch and pavilion.
The proposals have attracted opposition from both Barnham & Eastergate and Aldingbourne parish councils.
The parish councils say they are continuing to press for a more sustainable level of new housing development across the villages.
But if this is unachievable then they are demanding that key road and community infrastructure is built before more housing.
They are also pointing out how the 1,250 homes are proposing to be built long before the new A29 is complete.
The parish councils want a moratorium on further housing until a new sustainable housing figure is agreed which ‘truly represents housing need in Arun and the infrastructure is in place’.
They also feel the masterplan for the whole BEW housing site ‘is proving ineffective in providing an agreed approach to a range of issues’ with developers ‘not working together’.
Existing infrastructure ‘cannot accommodate this level of housing development’ with key works needing to be done ahead of housebuilding, not once it is completed.
If the A29 realignment is not completed before the homes are built, the parish councils predict traffic ‘chaos’ on Westergate Street and the B2233 Barnham Road.
Meanwhile the parishes’ priority demands include medical facilities and improving access to GP surgeries, providing school places especially at primary level before housing, upgrades to sewerage systems, upgrading and extending existing community facilities before building new ones and proven biodiversity net gain.
In response, a spokesperson for the Church Commissioners for England said: “We are currently progressing work on a phasing strategy for the planning application which will be discussed with Arun District Council and the Barnham, Eastergate, Westergate Advisory Group. Once the application is submitted, the local community will have the opportunity to fully review and comment on the information.
“The endorsed framework masterplan for the allocations sets out the key principles for the future design of the BEW site allocation and our proposals will accord with these principles.”
The consultation closes on Sunday May 16. Visit www.bewconsultation.co.uk