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Homes protestors urged to continue

CAMPAIGNERS have been urged to stage fresh protests against planned housing in North Bersted.


Formal consultation into major modifications of Arun District Council’s land use blueprint ends in two weeks.


Those opposed to the council’s local plan’s suggestion of 2,500 homes on fields north of Chalcraft Lane were given guidelines on which to base their latest objections. Campaign group BAD DEAL treasurer Gill Yeates set out the ideas at its public meeting last week.


She said: “There is strength in numbers. We need to get together now, share information to make a strong case and come up with some initiatives about what we can do.


“There is some hope in some places. If the council fails to hit 75 per cent of its target, the plan has to be reviewed and that would mean the objectively assessed need for housing being reviewed.


That number is the key.”


Among those present at the meeting last Thursday was Chalcraft Lane resident John Hibbert. He agreed to put up one of BAD DEAL’s placards.


He said he had lived in his house since 1980 and the area for 64 years.


“The housing plans are disgusting because of the traffic they will cause. There will be extra noise and waste but there’s no infrastructure and there’s no jobs around here,” she said.


The housing proposal is one of the strategic sites – given the name West Bersted – put forward by Arun to meet its government target of 1,000 homes a year for the 20 years from 2011.


The local plan is being considered by planning inspector Mark Dakeyne after he led a public inquiry last autumn.


The main modifications were made by Arun based on his initial reaction to the draft plan. He is expected to issue his final report in April.


Martin Lury, the chairman of Bersted & Aldwick Developments Destroying Environment & Agricultural Land, warned the final number of houses off Chalcraft Lane was likely to rise to 3,000.


“These houses are all about local greed of the landowners, not local need. We are in favour of houses for local need. We all want our kids to have somewhere to live. But this is not what is being provided.


“These houses are going to be for people coming in, with a few exceptions, and they are going to out-commute for jobs.”


The group would be hiring an environment consultant to conduct a detailed survey of the area to be able to provide expert advice about the planned housing’s impact on wildlife.


Another of the 50 or so people at the meeting at the Aldwick parish offices, North Bersted resident Tony Lancaster, said: “This site should be called West Busted, not West Bersted, because no-one is going to be able to afford to live in the homes.”


One of the founders of the CPRE’s Arun branch, Michael Warden, warned it could take decades to build the houses. “You will have 30-40 years of chaos,” he said.

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