D-DAY has been set for more than a thousand planned homes in Pagham.
Arun District Council has arranged a special meeting of its development control committee to discuss the four applications. The additional session will take place at 2.30pm on June 12 at the council’s offices at the Arun Civic Centre in Littlehampton.
The councillors at the meeting will make decisions on four major applications for housing in Pagham.
One of the leading campaigners against the plans, Alan Pivett, pledged protestors would be present to watch the debates.
Pagham and Greenfields Action Movement (Pagam) vice-chairman Mr Pivett said: “We want to get one resident from each of the areas who are going to be most affected by the homes to speak at the committee. We will also try to get some of our members there.
“I will be sending a detailed dossier to each of the committee members to remind them of their responsibilities and the fact that they will be dealing with sites close to the Pagham Harbour local nature reserve.”
The sites which will be debated at the meeting are Hook Lane with up to 300 homes, Pagham Road (up to 400), Sefter Road (up to 280) and Church Barton Farm, off Pagham Road (up to 65).
Pagam is holding an informal meeting from midday-3.30pm tomorrow at Pagham Village Hall to enable residents to find out more about the applications.
It is also staging a public meeting at 6pm next Friday at West Meads Community Centre in The Precinct.
MP Nick Gibb will be present along with representatives of Arun and Southern Water.
A rare bat could halt plans for homes in Pagham.
A new survey of one of the area’s four sites earmarked for large-scale development has revealed the presence of one of the rarest bats in Europe.
The barbastelle is a woodland bat which is protected under the EU habitats and species directive and requires special measures for conservation. These include the designation of special areas for it.
It was one of six bat species recorded by two experts on just one night walking around the site in Sefter Road in an initiative funded by Pagham Parish Council as part of its campaign to fight the housing plans.
Parish council chairman Cllr Ray Radmall told the Pagham annual electors’ meeting he expected the findings to be a significant step in being able to stop the development.
He said: “The survey was one of the most important things we have done. It showed the presence of the barbastelle bat, which is on the red list of endangered species.”
Earlier surveys had also shown several other protected species of wildlife – including reptiles – lived in the Sefter Road field and another development site in Hook Lane.
“The developers want to translocate – or move – them to another site. But that does not work, “ said Cllr Radmall.
“You just can’t move the creatures somewhere else. That has happened before and they were just killed at their new site.”
Cllr Radmall said he had met with a legal team of two solicitors and a barrister to decide what action to take about the survey results.
This could include a judicial review of the housing plans as a way of protecting the bats.
“One of the things that has also arisen is the issue of joint and several liability. This is not just the people doing the damage to the wildlife but also those involved in making it happen,” he said.
“That includes aiding and abetting, counselling, causing, procuring and promoting it.
“This is all good grist to our mill. We want to promote these findings and do everything that will protect this parish from all sorts of inappropriate housing.”
The latest survey was carried out at dusk on April 22 by David King and Sheila Wright, who both hold Natural England scientific bat licences.
They said: “Bats of six species were recorded, suggesting that this area is of local importance to bats, especially given its position surrounded by large arable fields and built up areas.
“It is recommended that further activity surveys are carried out, throughout the active season and that steps are taken to establish the relative abundance of bats and suitable bat habitat in the surrounding area.”
The greatest level of activity was from pipistrelles. Two kinds were recorded during the survey from 8.39pm-9.24pm.