A STAUNCH defence of plans to build a new Asda supermarket and more than 100 homes near Selsey has come from the boss of the applicant who says some of the criticism has been ‘hurtful’.
Selsey business owners and residents have voiced their opposition to the plans, which also include an hotel, restaurant and a petrol station at Park Farm, just out of the town.
But responding to a number of criticisms, Michael Fletcher, head of Landlink Estates, based in Bosham, said: “The key comment I wish to challenge is the one that suggests a cynical approach. I find that hurtful.
“As head of Landlink I have worked with the Selsey Council Neighbourhood Planning Group over a long period of time to work up this application.
“The housing numbers are now reduced to 144. I am trying to get as much for Selsey as I can in terms of money for schools, NHS, roads and other utilities.
“I am very keen to ensure that every penny generated by the scheme is spent in Selsey and I want help to make sure that West Sussex County Council and Chichester District Council (CDC) are held accountable.”
Mr Fletcher said figures showed more people were in favour of the plans, with their supporters’ poll standing at 134, while the opposition poll had 122 votes.
He said CDC canvassed 40 neighbours, with 25 responding in favour and five against, and that submissions to the council were more in favour than against.
“For there to be this level of support in favour of a development is amazing. It is almost unheard of.
“There is clearly a strong demand and it is simply logical to see why. Selsey is a growing community that needs modern facilities, and needs investment. Investment will not come without schemes like this.”
One criticism levied at the application is that it will draw people away from the town centre. But Mr Fletcher said: “The suggestion that it will not bring footfall into Selsey is illogical, if not simply obtuse.
“It would be great to put the store in town centre but; a, There is no space for it, and b, there is no suitable road network.”
“The overwhelming and undeniable fact is that Selsey’s population simply shops elsewhere. The shop owners know this.
“We want to reverse that with this scheme and bring trade back to Selsey.”
So far an outline planning application has been submitted and is pending consideration from district council planners.