SELSEY’S community could be ‘pulled apart’ if plans to build 159 homes, an Asda store and a hotel are given the go-ahead, a campaign leader has warned.
Donna Johnson, who is co-ordinating the campaign against the Landlink Estates development, has spoken out about her concern that the application is causing a large division in opinion.
She said: “I warned the local councillors the community was in danger of being pulled apart because there was a polarisation of opinions regarding this development.
“Feelings are running very high in both camps.
“The high street is more than just somewhere we shop and spend leisure time – it is the hub, the heart of the community. It is where the community comes together to celebrate and to remember. If the high street goes, then the reason why many of us live here will go with it.
The application has received about 50 letters of objection and another 50 of support.
“Unfortunately I think a lot of things have been said on both sides and neighbours have been at odds with neighbours, it will take the town some while to recover,” Donna said. “We don’t want to be yet another ‘clone’ town and if that is what we become, I wonder how many visitors would continue to come?”
The problem anti-development campaigners are concerned about is whether the high street will be badly affected if Asda is built.
“The problem is the Asda supermarket will be on the edge of the town,” she said. “We believe it will inevitably divert money from the high street shops.”
She said some local shops were reliant on tourists who stayed at Bunn Leisure, but the visitors might find it quicker and easier to get to Asda.
There is currently one supermarket and one convenience store open in Selsey, which Donna said could face closure if an Asda store were to open.
Her concern was this could disadvantage elderly people because it would not be easy for them to access Asda if they had mobility problems.
Another concern for Donna was whether bed and breakfast businesses would be affected.
“It is hard to see what would be achieved by the building of a 40-bedroom hotel on the edge of the town in the middle of a development,” she added.
“The building of a fuel station, while useful, would probably finish the one at Sidlesham and also mean local residents lose their local shop.”
The decision on whether the scheme goes ahead will be made by Chichester District Council.