PARISH councillors around Bognor Regis were today being asked to make room for more housing.
Members from some 16 parish councils across the Arun district were due to meet Arun District Council to discuss potential locations for the 1,250-plus homes.
These are extra dwellings to those intended for the three large-scale housing locations intended for Pagham and one in North Bersted which have provoked thousands of protest letters.
Today’s session was being held by Arun’s planning officers as the countdown continues to the publication of the government inspector’s report of its land use blueprint, the local plan.
The inspector, Mark Dalkeyne, is due to issue his verdict next month after he conducted a public inquirty into the document last September.
But the council has included a commitment in the local plan to provide housing at sites smaller than the larger, strategic locations for 1,200 homes in Pagham and 2,500 in North Bersted among others.
It is the smaller sites – which will accommodate less than 300 homes – which will be discussed today.
An Arun planning officer, Kevin Owen, told the council’s local plan sub-committee on Monday: “The meeting will be attended by 16 parish councils. That leaves another four to respond. We have been chasing them up.
“There is interest in the meeting because it is about our non-strategic (smaller) sites development plan document.
“We will get a better feel from that meeting what the attitudes and aspirations of these parishes will be.”
Martyn White, an Arun principal planning officer, said seven parish and town councils had ‘responded postively’ to the council’s request to review the sites they had allocated for housing.
“We have asked the parish councils if they want more housing and where they want them.
“Some of them want to see how the local plan pans out before they come back.”
Cllr Gillian Brown (C, Aldwick E) said: “I think most town and parish councils want to see what is happening with the local plan before they make any commitments.”
He said the council needed to show it had a consistent method for allocating the housing on the most suitable sites.
“The aim of Friday’s meeting is to start that process. The councils have asked us what we think their figures will be.”
Any schemes that came forward for the land would still need planning permission from the council.
Sub-committee vice-chairman Cllr John Charles said: “We have these meetings quite regularly and this is one of the major things we talk about.
“The average seems to be about 16-17 parish councils.”