Residents question delays to Adur Local Plan

RESIDENTS have raised concerns about delays to the Adur Local Plan, having previously been told the district was at risk from development without it.

Bill Freeman, left, and UKIP councillor Geoff Patmore study part of the Adur Local Plan at New Monks Farm

It was due to be submitted to the Government this month but that has been held-up by three months or more, while Adur District Council considers detailed submissions made during the public consultation.

Adur Floodwatch Group, a consortium of residents’ groups from across the district, has questioned the delay and again raised members’ ‘considerable concern’ about the flood risks.

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Spokesman Bill Freeman said: “When the plan was voted through in October by full council for submission to Government, residents present and groups who made representations were told most strenuously by council leader Neil Parkin and many other members that this plan must not be delayed. The authority must protect itself and the residents against unscrupulous developers who, without a plan in place, can side-step the authority and go to Government for approval. So, the plan was voted through. That was almost six months ago.”

The group understands more work has to be done on the viability of the proposed roundabout on the A27, which will serve Shoreham Airport, Ricardo and Lancing College, as well as the proposed New Monks Farm development of 600 homes and 25,000 square metres of business development.

Mr Freeman said: “What has happened to the urgency of plan submission which was so important in October, when now it is acceptable to delay it even further on an element which has been in the plan since 2013 and by this stage should surely have been tested for its viability?

“Or, was this headlong rush just scaremongering to get through an agenda which is known to be totally unacceptable to the Adur community because of its considerable risks for increased flooding in all areas around the Lancing Gap?”

The council said the Adur Local Plan would be the framework which ensures development opportunities throughout the district are progressed through sensitive, strategic growth, which both respects the area’s heritage and provides for a prosperous future.

A spokesman said: “Part of this naturally includes infrastructure considerations – what we have now, what new homes and employment spaces we will need, and so on.

“As part of the pre-submission consultation, a number of in-depth responses have been made, not limited to the roundabout issue, and the council is now considering all of those before the next stage of the process takes place.

“It is important to get this right, and so a small delay in the original timetable has been agreed to allow planning officers the opportunity to give full consideration to all of the issues which have been raised.”

Residents had asked the council to delay approval until the CH2MHill report, a comprehensive study of the area’s drainage, was published. But a motion put forward by UKIP members was vigorously rejected by the full council in October.

Mr Freeman said: “The report will be paramount to examining the drainage and used as a base to see whether flood risk mitigation could be possible.”