COUNTRYSIDE campaigners have warned Pagham area residents the worse is yet to come.
Two major planning applications for 680 homes on two sites in the village have been approved by Arun District Council. Another for 300 homes has been deferred for further studies.
But Michael Warden, chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s Arun group, said even more housing was on its way.
“The village of Pagham and surrounding parishes, together with all other parishes in the district which are having unachieveable numbers of housing thrust upon them by an ill-advised and out of touch government, will not be able to cope with the volume of traffic generated by these developments.
“There is no provision for meaningful long-term economic growth, only short- term gain while construction takes place.
“The bigger blow to come is an application that will be forthcoming before long, which will add even more pressure on local infrastructure at what is known locally at the Chalcraft Lane site for a minimum of 2,500 homes and Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate consortium.
“We all that other services, such as doctors’ surgeries, hospitals and schools, to name a few, are under severe pressure and getting worse, with no immediate improvement in sight.
“The whole area will be like a battlefield, which will be ongoing for much longer than the plan period (to 2031) as developers control the rate of building, not local authorities nor government, for all their sabre rattling and veiled threats to increase housing.”
This would mean the proposed housing target of 20,000 dwellings would fail to be met by 2031, Mr Warden said.
But, despite all the housing, a large number of residents were still ‘forgotten’ when it came to being able to buy a property.
These included adults still living at home with their parents, couples in low paid jobs and homeless people.
Mr Warden said: “A family that only has the minimum or living wage to survive on can never get close to owning their own home and find it difficult at times to find the rents demanded in the district.
“Where are we catering for them? The answer is we are not. It is not insurmountable. Action is needed from government level to introduce and finance a social housing programme as has been done in the past and, in my opinion, is the only way that the problem can be tackled.”
As well as the gridlocked roads, the effect of the housing would be to cause considerable damage to areas popular with wildlife and increased air pollution.
School places would become harder to obtain close to homes, he said, and doctors’ and hospital appointments would also be more difficult to achieve because of the increased number of residents in the area, he added.