Furious members of the public hurled angry words at Arun councillors after plans for up to 300 homes in Pagham were given the go-ahead.
An application, for land north of Hook Lane, had been rejected by the district council in January because of traffic concerns and was due to be appealed via a public inquiry in October.
On Wednesday, though, after an often heated discussion, the council’s development control committee approved a second identical application by seven votes to six.
With a number of councillors on holiday, the ranks of the committee were partially replenished with the inclusion of Terence Chapman (Con, East Preston) and Mike Clayden (Con, Angmering & Findon).
Neither of them was listed among the committee’s reserves but it was agreed that Mr Chapman should serve as vice-chairman for the meeting after Isabel Thurston (Green, Barnham) sent her apologies.
He and Mr Clayden both voted to approve the application.
When the vote was carried, there was a groan of despair from the crowded public gallery, with several people venting their anger as they left the chamber.
‘This is a farce’, ‘you are a disgrace as a council’,’ and ‘keep going until you get it passed, is that it?’ were among the things shouted, while one man warned: “You’ll all get voted out next time.”
This was the third major development to be approved for Pagham in the past year, with plans for another 280 homes north of Sefter Road and 400 south of Summer Lane also getting the thumbs-up.
The Hook Lane application have been the cause of much concern for residents, attracting more than 310 objections, with the parish councils of Pagahm, Aldwick and North Mundham also speaking against the idea.
Overdevelopment, the loss of agricultural land and the loss of green space were all on the long list of concerns raised with the council – but it was traffic that was the top of the list.
Questions were raised about congestion, the safety of pedestrians at already busy junctions and pollution.
But, with the site designated for housing in the Arun Local Plan and no objections received from the county highways team, Highways England or an independent highways consultant, the council would more than likely lose the appeal and face a financial hiding.