Cllr Bower’s fly-past of canards included one of his own, repeated on occasions when a challenge of any nature to cabinet thoughts on the future for Arun dare raise its head; he apportions the blame or credit to myself and colleagues for an increase of 2,000 in the number of new homes set for Arun in the Draft South East Plan and still the guide for today’s Conservative Ministers.
In August 2007 independent planning inspectors saw national and local needs for new homes calling for an increase of about ten per cent on draft figures across the South East region as a whole.
They found more than 40 districts in the region should plan to build more homes than the draft plan provided for, and in West Sussex this meant the objective for every district except Worthing to be increased.
So Arun was not singled out and I, alas, had no such influence on planners and politicians at the time. Had it been otherwise then a new settlement on wastleland at Ford (www.fordenterprisehub.com) would be rising at the heart of a new transport network instead of town and village cramming on greenfields from which an increasing number of commuters can join longer lines of traffic leaving Arun to earn enough to house and feed the family.
The council’s leading planning officer once pointed out to a committee that, in assessing housing need for a planning strategy one had also to think of today’s 14-year-olds. In his riposte Cllr Bower said: “We never have – they leave!”
With that outlook on spatial planning will the young at heart in Arun look forward with confidence or backward in anger?