THOUSANDS of homes planned for Bersted will provide no benefit for existing residents, a parish councillor has warned.
Cllr Gill Yeates said Arun District Council was set to impose a zero rate of the community infrastructure levy on new properties such as the 2,500 set to be built in Chalcraft Lane.
“There is not a lot in it for Bersted,” she told the parish council’s meeting last week.
She said Arun’s intended charging structure for the levy was hard to understand but only a commercial scheme, like the planned Aldi at the Saltbox development, would produce any income to be spent on projects in the parish.
As reported, the levy is imposed on landowners when they sell a plot to developers based on the square metre size of the building to be erected.
Arun has decided that its sites for large-scale housing developments along the coast should be exempt from the levy to avoid the landowners being deterred from selling.
Cllr Martin Lury, another member of Bersted Parish Council, has organised protests about the housing.
He said the prospect of the housing in Chalcraft Lane and another 1,000 homes in Pagham going up was a ‘nightmare’.
“The thought of putting 3,000-4,000 houses to the south-west of us and, with the traffic coming this way, is going to gridlock us. We are not anti-housing as such.
“But I think it is wrong to put housing down which is going to be used by people coming into the area to buy property which is cheap to them. This prices out people around here who can’t compete with them because it is a low-wage economy.”
But his fellow parish councillor, Keir Greenway, said Arun was right to be cautious about the rate of the levy.
“If the levy is too high, it will price out local people,” he said. “Why would Arun try to make it harder for people to be able to afford a house?”
Earlier, county and district councillors Francis Oppler and Sue Bence had used their respective slots in the timetable to clash about the matter.
Cllr Oppler said: “I feel Arun is setting the levy too low. It is being set at three per cent generally and that will raise £15,000 a property. That is small change to a developer. Arun has the flexibility to put the levy up to five per cent.
But Cllr Mrs Bence said: “The levy needs to be at a rate that the developer doesn’t notice. If it is too high, it will be the people who buy the properties who will pay it and not the developer.”