The Government’s decision to refuse planning permission for 100 homes at Yapton could be a crucial curve ball in the future of housing across Arun.
Langmead’s plans for land south of Ford Lane were called-in by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, after an inspector overturned Arun District Council’s refusal of plans last year.
The decision saw ‘significant weight’ given to policies in Yapton’s neighbourhood plan – a key planning document crafted by residents to have a say in their village’s future.
This was despite ongoing issues with Arun’s local plan – with numerous recent applications seeing neighbourhood plans overridden by the council’s inability to identify enough land suitable for housing.
Vicky Newman, chairman of Yapton Parish Council’s planning committee, said: “I think it is a very clear signal that made neighbourhood plans and those nearing referendum stage should hold weight, which is fantastic news.”
The decision is villagers’ second piece of positive planning news this week, after separate plans for 108 homes off Burndell Road were called-in by the Government. But the Burndell Road case differs slightly, in that Arun granted permission for the development.
The central issue – conflict between neighbourhood plan policies and Arun’s local plan difficulties – is the same as the Ford Lane case.
Mrs Newman said, however, that parishioners could this time face a ‘David versus Goliath’ battle if Arun sticks to its original stance.
“This decision is a bit of a curve ball for Arun as it does paint a different picture to the officer recommendations,” she said.
A decision notice for Ford Lane, sent to interested parties, notes the importance of flexibility in the neighbourhood plan.
In addition to allocating space for the target 100 homes, the plan had incorporated a 20 per cent buffer.
The decision notes that the plans were located outside the built-up area of the village, applying significant weight to the policy.
Mrs Newman said the decision would give hope to villagers across the district who had spent years working on their own plans.
Langmead has up to six weeks to appeal the Secretary of State’s decision.
Arun will defend a further call-in over 400 homes at Fontwell in November, with conflict with the neighbourhood plan the key debate.