Homes behind Pagham hotel refused due to ‘dangerous’ access

A proposed development behind a Pagham hotel and restaurant has been refused due to ‘dangerous’ access arrangements.

Land proposed for development marked in red
Land proposed for development marked in red

Developers wanted to build nine new homes behind the Inglenook Hotel to the west of Pagham Road.

However major concerns were raised about the plans to access the site from a narrow lane ‘sandwiched’ between the hotel and an existing dwelling.

Members of Arun District Council’s development control committee refused the application earlier this month.

The proposed access to the development site (Photo from Google Maps Street View)

Several members said they would have been in favour of the development if access was taken from the new Spinnaker View development immediately to the south.

But it appears a ransom strip of land is preventing this from being agreed and a number of councillors criticised the developer for going with the ‘cheap option’.

The application was last discussed in November, but a decision was deferred to receive more information.

A road safety audit was then carried out and advice sought from independent highway consultants.

Although this work flagged up some minor issues, officers said it had concluded there would be no severe impact on highway safety.

An alternative pedestrian footpath to the north of the Inglenook was added to the plans.

West Sussex County Council highways officers said there was no evidence the access would be unsafe, while the proposals accorded with relevant government guidance.

Meanwhile Neil Crowther, group head of planning at Arun, said: “It’s not the perfect solution and it’s not an ideal situation but you have had two highway officers advising the committee on the safety of the access and they have both concluded it’s not so unsafe as to refuse planning permission.”

However elected members were less than convinced.

David Huntley, an independent district councillor representing Pagham, felt the access road was far too narrow with poor visibility and raised the danger to families with young children.

He said: “We could allow it because it’s the cheapest option and the most convenient to the developer but ignore the dangers, leaving a future council to pay compensation when there is an accident that should have been avoided. Your choice.”

Amanda Worne (LDem, Yapton) added: “It’s our duty to allow as few accidents as possible and try to make things as safe as we can and I feel a bit uneasy about the situation that we have with all these ifs and buts.”

Some councillors admitted to being between a rock and a hard place given the county council had not raised any objections.

David Edwards (Con, Felpham East) asked: “This all suggests it’s dangerous but yet we’re told it’s not dangerous enough to refuse. What is dangerous enough to refuse?”

Hugh Coster (Ind, Aldwick East) proposed refusal, pointing out that if the main access includes a marked out footpath for pedestrians there would not be enough space for bin lorries or emergency vehicles.

He added: “This developer, if he wants to go ahead, needs to come to an agreemen over the ransom strip to get a sensible access. I think we should refuse this dangerous access because we simply can’t be putting lives in danger.”