CAMPAIGNERS filled the public gallery in one of the largest turnouts at an Arun District Council meeting for years.
Some 150-200 people created a hostile audience to hear councillors begin the debate the housing proposals for Pagham.
Among those who went along to Wednesday’s meeting at the Arun Civic Centre in Littlehampton were Pagham couple Harry and Celia Bethell.
They have lived in Downland Close for 12 years after going to Pagham on holiday for 30 years.
Mr Bethell said: “We want to oppose the amount of housing being proposed for Pagham.
“It is a small village and that number of homes will just ruin it. There will possibly be another 3,000 cars. We are not against building new homes but there are far more suitable sites.
“It is prime farmland they are talking about building on. It does not make sense.”
Mrs Bethell said: “We can’t get out of our road as it is now because there are so many cars coming along.”
The strength of feeling against housing is shown by the official total of 2,346 letters of objection given in Arun District Council’s agenda for the meeting. A petition of 1,220 names was also submitted.
Protests came from Pagham, Aldwick, Oving parish councils and Chichester District Council as well.
They concerned the impact on roads of the housing, loss of farmland, the risk of flooding and the development’s impact on the surrounding rural area among several other matters.
Opposition to the 980 homes on the three sites of Summer Lane, Sefter Road and Hook Lane has been led by the Pagham and Aldwick Greenfields Movement (Pagam).
The group has conducted a vigorous campaign for just over two years. This has included public meetings, a series of information sessions and other events.
natural England, the RSPB, and the Sussex Ornithological Trust were among others to comment about the applications.