Major Pagham housing schemes in Pagham will be left out of a review of a land use blueprint.
Arun District Council is set to take a fresh look at its local plan which allocates sites for development. But the four locations in Pagham- where some 1,200 dwellings are expected to be built – will be excluded, along with 2,000-plus homes in Barnham.
Arun’s planning policy sub-committee agreed an update of the development management policies in the local plan should start and be followed by an update of the complete plan.
its recommendations to all council members next month, however, stopped short of wiping out its allocation of large-scale housing developments.
Cllr David Huntley (I, Pagham) told Tuesday’s sub-committee meeting the decision went against the motion of no confidence in the local plan which was agreed by councillors in November.
“That was decided on the grounds it’s building large quantities of houses on a coastal plain which could flood in the next 50-100 years. We seem to be ignoring all of that. The problem is the housing figures are too high. Perhaps we ought to get that target alleviated.
“We are ignoring the problem of climate change and the juggernaut of building on the coastline is trying to progress,” he said.
Arun’s current local plan covers the years 2011-2031 and requires 1,000 dwellings a year to be built on average in line with a government target. But the past two years have seen 704 and 603 constructed.
Mr Neil Crowther, Arun’s group head of planning, said planning law meant the council had to review its plan because so few homes had been built.
Doing nothing would risk the government stepping in and imposing a plan on the council. Scrapping the current housing sites would leave Arun open to legal challenges from developers and the land owners, he said.
He said: “The frustration the council has in terms of the unrealistic targets being set which are outside of its control is fully understood by officers.
“There is no getting away from the fact that there will be difficult and unpopular decisions around housing numbers and sites at some point during the process of reviewing and updating a local plan.”
Cllr Martin Lury (LD, Bersted), the council’s cabinet member for housing services, said: “The major issue to focus on is that we have 4,000 homes that have gained planning permission. We can’t force them to be delivered. That’s the issue we have all the time.”
Updating the development management policies would take account of the worsening climate change of the past ten years, he said.
Cllr Isabel Thurston (G, Arundel) said: “We can’t do nothing because we have our strategic objective around climate change.”
Cllr Ricky Bower (C, E Preston) said: “I have always said that any housing we had to have should be located in those parts of the district that require improvements in infrastructure because putting in that infrastructure helps to alleviate the pain for the local community.”
The new policies will also seek to boost social housing numbers. The work to create them will cost £1m.