Ford Market reconfiguration plans deferred due to traffic concerns

Plans to reconfigure the Ford Airfield Market face a further wait as councillors decided to defer a decision on whether or not to approve it.

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The market has been operating at the decommissioned airfield off Ford Lane for 20 years but following a planning application for a 1,500 home development on the wider site, the operators wish to change its layout and access.

Ford Airfield Market, the applicant, said: “It is essential that the current operation of the market is not compromised in any way by the wider development and this application is prepared on this basis.”

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The site has a number of uses with regular car boot fairs, a farmer’s market and a market on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. It is also used by various waste and recycling contractors and companies, several of which have objected to plans for a single point of access.

Plans could see a ‘holding area’ for traders who arrive early as there is currently nothing in place to accommodate them and this can result in queuing along the access roads.

Market days would remain the same and the existing parking area on the eastern runway would be retained.

However, as a result of the 1,500 home development, the market would no longer operate along the site’s western runway. The area is currently used for parking so a new area is proposed to the east of the Southern Water facility for overflow parking.

Plans would also see a single access road for the market. Currently, traders and visitors can use Yapton Road and Ford Road but the operator wishes to restrict this to Ford Road in future.

This part of the plan has been subject to objections.

During a meeting of Arun District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday (September 8), a representative of Clymping Parish Council said: “CPC objected to this application as the closure of the western market entrance will have a material effect on Climping’s local roads, especially Horsemere Green Lane.

“Closing this entrance will mean 1,300 [vehicle] movements will have to reroute.”

He called for a design review to assess the potential impact on Horsemere Green Lane.

Another public speaker claimed that Climping residents could be ‘severely affected’ by the plan.

He said: “The market is a major traffic generator and around 500 vehicle movements are made at peak time at the Yapton access each week.

“So where will all this traffic go? Horsemere Green Lane is basically a country lane with a partial footpath and the speed limit is largely ignored.

“Please do something positive for Climping. We feel totally under siege at the moment.”

Amanda Worne (LDem, Yapton) also felt that ‘dangerous’ Horsemere Green Lane could be affected by the plans.

She said: “I for one, in a wheelchair, would never go down that pavement.

“Yet mums with buggies taking children to the Climping school are expected to travel down there every day.”

Members of the planning committee recognised concerns surrounding access.

John Charles (Con, Barnham) said:  “I can’t support [this application] as it stands.

“All that extra traffic will have to go in that one entrance and will cause major problems.”

Isabel Thurston (Green, Barnham) asked if the application had been ‘rushed’ as it was connected to the 1,500 home application on the site.

Committee chair Terence Chapman (Con, East Preston) said: “One thing strikes me is that the [traffic] modelling is only concerned with Ford Road – there’s no mention of anything to do with Horsemere Green Lane.”

Ricky Bower (Con, East Preston) suggested the application be deferred and this was agreed unanimously.

The current application to reconfigure the market was first submitted to ADC in February 2020 and now faces a further wait.

Ford Airfield Market said: “Extensive community engagement has been undertaken in the parish over the last six years, with the community feeding into the design concepts for the site on an ongoing basis.”

Jessica Hubbard , Local Democracy Reporting Service