Residents vow to fight Ford eco-town
Local residents packed into Yapton and Ford Village Hall on Thursday evening (1 May) to voice their concerns at the proposal to build an eco-town at Ford.
It was standing room only as around 250 residents from Ford, Yapton, Climping, Walberton, Barnham, Arundel and other towns and villages arrived to meet members of local campaign group Communities Against Ford Eco-Town (CAFE).
CAFE Co-Chairman and Yapton resident Terry Knott explained how concerned residents of Ford, Yapton, Climping and Arundel had come together to form the campaign group, backed by Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert and Bognor Regis & Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb.
Yapton resident and CAFE vice-chairman Vicky Newman, a local surveyor, explained the full extent of the eco-town proposals. She said that at least 5,000 houses could be built on land around the former Ford Airfield site.
Mrs Newman quoted figures published by the Government which suggest that over 87 per cent of the site consists of greenfield land. Less than 13 per cent of the site consists of brownfield land.
Arundel resident and CAFE member Derek Waller described the lack of transport infrastructure in West Sussex, already projected to get much worse in the next decade. Mr Waller said the eco-town at Ford would exacerbate the problem, leading to increased congestion on our roads.
Mr Waller reminded everyone that a new bypass for the A27 at Arundel would not be completed until 2018 at the earliest and there were no plans to upgrade the already crowded A259.
Climping resident and CAFE member Geoff Dixon expressed his doubt that enough new jobs would be created at Ford to meet the needs of an eco-town.
Mr Dixon said that developers would encourage businesses in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton to relocate to Ford and, in the process, draw investment and jobs away from those areas. Despite this, he believed that Ford would be a "dormitory town".
Mr Knott called on the audience to lend their support to CAFE by attending future public meetings, signing the petition, writing to the Government, donating to the campaign and displaying a poster or car sticker. He also urged residents to take part in the march and rally on Saturday 7 June at 11am (further details to be announced).
Mr Knott commented: "I was delighted by the huge turnout at the meeting and was overwhelmed by numerous offers of support. Local residents are very angry about this half-baked proposal for an eco-town, at Ford. Many support the concept of such a town, but it does not make ecological or economic sense, to site it here. It will destroy a large area of highly productive green-field land, will be boxed in by poor transport links and we are convinced will prove to be unsustainable."
Notes for Editors
1. For the website of CAFE, visit http://www.nofordecotown.com/
2. CAFE will hold another public meeting at Climping Village Hall on Thursday 8 May at 6.30pm
3. The consultation paper issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), entitled ‘Eco-towns: Living a Greener Future', can be viewed at http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/pdf/livinggreenerfuture.pdf
4. Members of the public wishing to take part in the consultation can write to: Eco-towns Team, Housing and Growth Programmes, Communities and Local Government, 2/H9 Eland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW1E 5DU (e-mail: email@example.com)
5. The consultation ends on 30 June 2008.
6. For further details of the Ford eco-town proposal, visit www.arun.gov.uk/ecotown