by Kevin Smith
Hundreds of extra homes could be built in Pagham, Walberton and Yapton.
The areas are already subject to a series of large-scale development schemes.
But more land for the potential development of a total of nearly 5,000 dwellings has been identified by Arun District Council.
The council’s latest checklist of land which can be used for residential purposes has been prepared by its planning officers.
The database is called the housing and economic land availability assessment (HELAA) and is updated annually in line with government planning policy.
The prospect of additional housing, however, alarmed some members of the council’s planning policy sub-committee at its latest meeting.
The detailed list in the assessment includes 774 homes on land west of Westergate Street, Aldingbourne; 241 west of Church Lane, Barnham; 301 south of Ford Lane, Yapton; and 267 in Lower Bognor Road, Pagham.
Cllr Isabel Thurston (G, Barnham) said: “People in Aldingbourne will be very alarmed to see a site in Westergate Street being judged as being able to have 774 dwellings.
“We are having a massive strategic allocation (of housing) next door and I think this could be very alarming.
“Another area in Barnham is an area for 241 homes in somewhere that I know floods regularly.”
Cllr Roger Elkins (C, Ferring) said he was concerned that a site’s inclusion in the assessment would be seen as paving the way for any development to be approved.
“The inference may well be that they will get planning permission. We see there is a site in Yapton for 200 houses, a site in Walberton for 200 houses and in Pagham for 267 houses, and another site in Pagham for 100 houses.
“It says we are going to have 267 houses in Pagham, 200 in Climping or wherever is it.
“Because it is in the HELAA and because it has been marked for development, is this sub-committee giving its tacit approval this site should be developed? In no way would I say the plans I have seen in here should be developed.”
Kevin Owen, the council’s planning policy team leader, stressed the assessment should not be seen as paving the way for planning permission.
He said the assessment was needed to keep the potential land supply for development in the district up to date. This included a ‘call for sites’ to landowners to identity new potential plots.
This had led to 51 deliverable sites being included in this year’s assessment. They could accommodate 4,849 dwellings.
“We are following national policy. We have to have an accurate land supply and the policy sets out how we are supposed to do that. It’s not new and it’s been around for a long time.
“We are at pains to say throughout the document this is not conferring any planning approval. There is no guarantee any planning application will succeed,” he said.