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Election fear over housing

TOO MUCH housing around Pagham could cost the Tories the next election, one of the party’s councillors fears.


Cllr Pat Dillon said he was concerned the influx of homes being proposed for the area on the western edge of the Arun district might be fatal to the Conservatives’ electoral hopes.


He said a councillors’ drop-in surgery on Wednesday showed the scale of the anger in the community about the intention to enable three fields around Pagham to be concreted over for 1,200 homes.


Arun District Council has set aside the sites in its draft local plan and developers have already submitted planning applications for the housing.


But Cllr Dillon, who is a Conservative councillor for Pevensey on Bognor Regis and Arun councils, said: “The whole idea for these drop-ins is for people to tell us their local problems. But we are also getting to hear about all the possible developments in the Pagham area.


“People feel very strongly about that. They are getting absolutely no satisfaction from within the Conservative Party and we will be very hard-pressed to win the next election, I think, because of the amount of house-building around Pagham.”


Cllr Dillon said he was also criticial of West Sussex County Council because of the lack of infrastructure to cope with the expected influx of new residents.


Organisations such as the water and sewage companies also had a part to play in resisting the tide of new housing, he said.


“They say they can’t object to the housing. They can do that but they won’t.”


Wednesday’s session was the first to be held by Bognor Regis Town Council away from the town centre.


It took place for two hours in the afternoon and a further two in the evening at the Bognor Youth and Community Centre in Westloats Lane.


The early session saw 11 people go along to raise concerns with the three councillors present. Cllr Dillon was joined by Cllrs Jim Brooks (I, Marine) and Sandra Daniells (I, Pevensey).


One of those who attended was nearby resident Pat Pond. She called for an alleyway behind houses to be blocked to stop it being used for fly-tipping.


“It was useful coming here,” she said. “I came in because I live in this area. They should hold events like this every quarter.”


Cllr Dillon said: “I will be taking the alleyway problem forward with the county council. It might also be the town council could help as well. I have helped with blocking off other alleyways previously.”


He hoped more people would take advantage of the chance to speak to their elected representatives at such events.


“We need people to come in and talk to us to find out what is important to them,” he said. “If we get more and more people in, we will get more councillors here.”


Town centre projects officer Sheila Hodgson said: “The idea of events like this is to encourage people who live in the town council’s wards to tell us about the problems on their doorsteps. We are coming to the community instead of them coming to us in the town hall.”

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