Higher housing numbers are "unwise, unnecessary and unwelcome."

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has criticised proposals in the Draft Arun District Plan to increase housing numbers beyond the level proposed by the Council last year.

In his submission to the consultation, Mr Herbert said that he "cannot support the Draft Plan as it stands".

The previous Government's South East Regional Spatial Strategy is to be abolished, yet the Draft Plan re-adopts the same housing numbers of 565 units a year.

Arun District Council had earlier indicated a preferred target of 400 units a year for the district over the next 16 years.

The increase would be accommodated by raising the allocation in Angmering to nearly 500 houses, and through a new 'strategic housing' development of over 2,000 homes in the six villages area.

Mr Herbert argues that the Council should not support the highest housing target when it had proposed a lower number last year.  He says that doing so is undermining localism, under which villages are now preparing their own neighbourhood plans to decide where new houses should be built.

The MP also says that there is inadequate infrastructure to support excessive development, and that it is essential to protect the rural character of West Sussex villages and prevent suburban sprawl.

Mr Herbert will be holding an open meeting in the Six Villages area on Friday (28 September) in order to allow local people an opportunity to put forward their view.  He plans to hold a similar meeting in Angmering in November.

In a letter to Arun District Council, Nick Herbert says:

"The introduction of a ‘strategic housing' proposal, and the increase in proposed housing numbers above those originally supported by the Council, is unwise, unnecessary and unwelcome.  It is reminiscent of the worst aspects of top-down housing targets; it has inevitably already provoked strong local opposition; it will undermine the neighbourhood plans that parish councils are in the process of compiling, and it will make a mockery of local determination over development.

"There is a general acceptance in the villages I represent that some additional housing is necessary, but at sustainable levels.  The new planning process will allow the villages, through their neighbourhood plans, to manage this with local consent.  This process must be allowed to succeed.

"I strongly urge Arun District Council to abandon the higher housing target from the outgoing South East Regional Spatial Strategy, scrap its 'strategic housing' proposal, and embrace the new process in a spirit of co-operation with the villages.

"Without these changes, I cannot support the Draft Plan as it stands."



Notes for Editors

1.   Nick Herbert's submission to the consultation on the Draft Arun Plan (2013-2028) can be read here.

2.   Mr Herbert will be holding open meetings in each of the affected areas.  The meeting for the Six Villages area will be on Friday 28 September at Fontwell Park Racecourse, 18:30-19:30.  The meeting in Angmering will be on Friday 16 November.