A HEATED conference on Friday night saw district planners and residents come face to face.
Also in attendance at the meeting, which took place at Tangmere Village Hall, was Arun and South Downs MP Nick Herbert.
More than a dozen parishes from the Chichester and Arun districts attended, and each made a statement about the issues affecting their area, and the problems of what they said was unsustainable housing plans.
Speaking afterwards, Nick Herbert said he felt the evening had been a great success, but also he felt similar issues were making themselves known, which needed addressing.
“We heard from planners which was helpful and the parishes clearly all had the same issues,” he said, before congratulating Tangmere Parish Council on organising the event.
Planners faced tough questions from residents, and were forced to defend their planning strategies.
One of the key criticisms levied was that councils were ignoring the cumulative effects of the numerous housing proposals that had been approved throughout the area.
However, representing Chichester District Council, Amanda Jobling, director of home & community, said the council had no option but to consider each application individually.
Karl Roberts, assistant director of planning and economic regeneration, represented Arun District Council.
There was virtually a unified call from the parishes to be able to complete their neighbourhood plans, something which Nick Herbert supported.
“I would strongly urge every parish to embark on the process of formulating a neighbourhood plan. It requires the community to come together and take decisions for themselves,” he said.
“It’s then the parish’s decision about where the parish goes. I’m quite cross with some of the district councils for not engaging with parishes to work on neighbourhood plans. I think we should be supporting parishes in this.”
For a full report of the meeting, including further commments from Nick Herbert, residents, and planners at Chichester and Arun district councils, see Thursday’s Observer (January 31).