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Council vows to battle on

DETERMINED Pagham councillors have vowed to carry on fighting against more than 1,000 homes.


The parish council members said there would be no let in their battle to get the best for the area in face of the 1,200 planned dwellings. They have £22,000 set aside to fund any legal challenge or acquire expert advice they believe is necessary to continue their protests.


Cllr Dawn Salter, the chairman of its finance and general purposes committee, said: “We are committed to this housing fight. We do have funds ready should we decide, going forward, to fight the developers.”


She made her comments at the council’s latest meeting after members agreed to spend £800 on a ‘focused review’ by an experienced former local authority planning officer of the council’s position.


The review will concentrate on how the council should proceed regarding the adoption by Arun District Council of its local plan, which establishes the principle of the large-scale housing on sites known as Pagham North and Pagham South.


Also included in the work will be the parish council’s draft neighbourhood plan, which needs to be approved by residents, on which work has been halted. It details planning issues such as protecting heritage sites and allocating small-scale housing areas.


The council is also involved in opposing the four planning applications which have been submitted for Pagham North and Pagham South and which Arun has yet to debate.


Cllr Ray Radmall, the parish council’s chairman, said: “We are absolutely committed on these issues.”


The council could consider a meeting with Pagham and Aldwick Greenfield Movement (PAGAM) to explain the latest situation.


“Community engagement meetings are a good idea. But quite a lot of information goes out from us,” he said.


“There are a lot of different areas we are involved in but we could have a general meeting with PAGAM to tell people we are on the same side.”


Alan Pivett, PAGAM’s chairman, said: “The meeting will make people aware of the good job you are doing. We don’t want them to think this council is the same as Arun.”


PAGAM web officer Pam Hickey said: “PAGAM can get residents at a meeting to support the council and find out what the council wants from them by asking pertinent questions.”


The idea of the meeting was raised by a PAGAM committee member, June Collins. She called for the parish council to do more to explain its role.


“Nobody from the parish council turned up when Arun approved the local plan as a show of support. That was all we were asking for,” she said.


Cllr Salter said residents were able to attend and speak at all of the parish council’s meetings at the village hall.


Cllr Phil Higson said: “It’s an insult to question my commitment (to this issue) as someone who has spent many hours objecting to these applications.”

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