'Garden City' plan for Eastergate, Westergate and Barnham revealed
Arun District Council is planning a new 'Garden City'-style development of 2,000 houses between Eastergate, Westergate and Barnham, it has been revealed.
The Council has commissioned URS, a London-based consultancy, to prepare a report for a development built on Garden City or Suburban principles, with a final version being expected by the end of the month.
A draft 'Three Villages Visioning Brief' has been circulated to parish councils for comment, giving them less than two weeks to respond.
The document says that the principles which underpinned the creation of Garden Cities and Suburbs in the last century "are relevant to the creation of new communities in Arun today".
It says that high quality design, tree-lined streets and "generous green space" would "create a better balance between development and landscape and so support wider objectives concerned with creating healthy environments, promoting biodiversity, adapting to climate change and managing surface water."
The report is being prepared before publication of the District Council's Local Plan, expected later in the year, and despite the fact that last month the Government confirmed that the South East Regional Plan was being scrapped.
Arun District Council's draft Local Plan, published last year, was strongly criticised by local communities after it proposed a higher housing target of 565 houses a year over 15 years, amounting to nearly 8,500 homes. The higher number, which was originally required by the South East Plan, would require a new ‘Strategic Housing' development of over 2,000 homes in the Six Villages area.
Arun had originally proposed 400 houses a year, or 6,000 in total. This would already mean 30 houses in Aldingbourne, 100 in Barnham, 100 in Eastergate and 50 in Walberton.
The study for a new 'Garden City'-type development suggests that the Council still plans to proceed to with the development of 2,000 houses, despite the fact that the final Local Plan has not yet been published.
Nick Herbert commented: "However this development is dressed up, with glossy pictures of leafy avenues, it spells the end of the three villages and the creation of a new town. Instead of village life there would be suburbia, and instead of green fields there would be houses.
"I am dismayed that this divisive plan is being promoted just at the moment when the South East Plan is being scrapped and despite the clear wishes of the local community. The Council should not be using public money to promote grandiose schemes ahead of publication of its final Plan, which should anyway take into account local views and concerns."
Mr Herbert continued: "We need more housing, and I believe local villages accept they must play their part, but the numbers must be sustainable and preserve the rural character of West Sussex.
"The South East Plan is being scrapped, giving the Council the power to decide the right level of development. I urge Arun to set a realistic housing number, drop this plan for a Garden City-style development, and let the neighbourhood plans being prepared by the villages deliver a sensible level of housing."
Notes for Editors
1. Arun District Council's draft "Three Villages Visioning Brief" can be read here.
2. The Government's news release announcing the abolition of the South East Plan can be found here.
3. The report of the public meeting held at Barnham in October 2012 can be found here.