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Bat study to fight homes

FURTHER expert studies are being commissioned by Pagham councillors to fight unwanted housing schemes.


They have put aside £15,000 to spend on consultants to highlight the reasons why house-building should not be allowed on three sites around the parish.


One of the studies will be to try to determine the species of bat which is living in the Sefter Road site subject to the latest application from Taylor Wimpey. The company wants to increase the number of homes it is allowed to build from 250 to 280.


Parish councillors opposed the proposal at their planning committee meeting on Tuesday but said they needed more time to compile a detailed response.


They agreed to send a formal objection to Arun District Council but also to consider the matter – on one of three major housing sites in the parish – in more detail at their next planning committee meeting on April 10.


Cllr Ray Radmall said: “We need to ask the Sussex Wildlife Trust to come back and this time, instead of finding bat droppings and bat urine, to come back when the bats are flying and they can use a sonar detector to identify the type of bat. That will carry more weight.”


He said the initial study had shown some 20 trees and the Scout hut on the site were used as bat roosts along with the remains of a Second World War structure.


Nicola Swann, the parish council’s clerk, said: “The studies will be looking at heritage, ecology and transport – the areas we were to concentrate our efforts on. We need to see what comes back out of those studies.”


Cllr Phil Higson said the latest application by Taylor Wimpey would add further traffic to the area’s roads.


“It might be argued it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back but 30 out of (a total of) 1,500 houses is not going to be relative really,” he said.


But he stated the information in the current plan was inconsistent. Reference was still made in the description to 250 homes being built and the fact a site for a school was being set aside when that land was being earmarked for the extra housing.


He said: “This is a flawed document. We want a correct analysis of where and what the extra 30 houses are.”


The decision to set aside the money to pay for the studies was made in confidential business at an extraordinary meeting of the council earlier this month.


The minutes state: “Representatives of the parish council had met with legal representatives the previous day to discuss prospects for opposing the large-scale housing development in Pagham.


“The clerk gave an overview of the advice given by the legal representatives.


“It was resolved that an amount of £15,000 would be made available to the planning committee from the earmarked housing reserve to spend on further investigations with consultants and on further legal fees in accordance with the strategy set out by the legal team and relayed to the meeting by the clerk.”

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