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£33m scheme goes ahead

Up to 1,000 jobs will be created at a major commercial site in Bognor Regis.


Aldi, Warburtons the bakers and Richmond Motor Group will be among the companies opening at the Saltbox development on the A29.


Planning approval for the scheme, which will involve £33.7million of capital investment, was given by councillors on Wednesday.


They decided the flooding fears which caused them to delay approving the scheme last June had been overcome by the applicant, Landlink Estates.


Work is expected to start on the site soon. When the project was discussed in the summer, Landlink was keen to get going because Warburtons wanted to open its distribution centre next year.


Mr Michael Eastham, an Arun District Council planning officer, told members of its development control committee: “The Environment Agency has withdrawn its objection to the application having considered the revised drainage system.”


He said the new version would see nine underground tanks installed on the site above the ground water level to soak up excess rainfall.


They would be sufficient to cope with extreme flooding expected once in 100 years plus 40 per cent extra capacity to take account of climate change.


Mr Roger Spencer, Arun’s senior engineer, said: “Things have moved on greatly since you last considered this and we are now happy.”


Cllr David Edwards (C, Felpham E) said: “I am fairly comfortable with this application because the issues of flooding and drainage will be addressed on the site, I am pleased to say.


“I am now satisfied the drainage will be satisfactory for this site.”


Cllr Hugh Coster (I, Aldwick E) said he believed the drainage scheme was just good enough.


At one spot, the ground water level was only 0.5m below the surface. This could cause problems in the future.


“It is acceptable at the moment but I consider it to be teetering on the edge,” he said.


Cllr Martin Lury (LD, Bersted) said: “This is a much better system you have come up with. I have other reservations but this is the only thing we can vote on.”


Cllr Gill Yeates (LD, Bersted), whose previous comments about the scheme meant she did not take part in the debate, told her fellow councillors the A29 was vulnerable to flooding.


“The road does already flood and it is completely impassable and there are no alternative roads around it.”


The planning application for the 12 hectare Saltbox is in two phases. The first phase gained full permission for a custom-designed depot for Warburtons.


It also included an Aldi store and car showrooms for the Richmond Motor Group.


Two drive-throughs and two industrial units completed the application as well as infrastructure such as roads.


The second phase gained outline approval for flexible employment space for two warehouses with offices. No tenants have been revealed for those properties.


The land received outline approval in December, 2017, for a mix of leisure, retail and industrial units to establish the principle of the site’s development.

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