New housing settlements can offer advantages

It is interesting to read that Chichester City Council’s planning and conservation committee has suggested talks with Arun District Council to consider the possibility of a new settlement (possibly at Ford – the largest available brownfield site in West Sussex) to serve the housing needs of both districts.

This is an interesting reflection of emerging government policy which requires a duty to co-operate; “It is important for councils and other public bodies to work together across administrative boundaries to plan for the housing, transport and infrastructure that local people need.”

New settlements offer many advantages.

They can be carefully planned from their inception, enabling planners to introduce current best practice techniques in addressing housing, open space, leisure, recreation, employment, energy, transport and environmental issues.

They help to protect the existing urban built environment by reducing the need for ‘town cramming’ or ‘infill development’.

They offer an opportunity to build family homes rather than flats.

Affordable housing deficits can be addressed in a substantial, rather than piecemeal manner.

Greenfield locations elsewhere in both districts could be spared while a disused airfield is utilised first.

We should ask: if the urban extensions of the past 60 years have been so successful that we would want to repeat them, then why is the local economy in Arun in such a poor condition?

Urban extensions utilise and therefore increase pressure on existing infrastructure like health facilities, schools, roads etc.

New settlements provide their own infrastructure – placing much less burden on existing infrastructure.

For instance, the existing sewage network across both districts struggles to cope.

A new settlement at Ford would utilise the adjacent sewage works, placing no additional pressure on the existing sewage network.

Road layouts in a new settlement do not evolve over years – they are carefully planned from the outset.

For instance, a link road from the A259, bridging the railway line at Ford, to the proposed Arundel Bypass (pink/blue route) would provide Bognor Regis and Littlehampton with improved access to/from the A27.

A new settlement can offer infrastructure contributions on a far greater scale than a number of smaller developments peppered across both districts.

How many houses at Ford would it take to fund an Arundel Bypass in full? Shouldn’t our democratically-elected representatives find out?

Modern employers expect to be located adjacent to the Strategic Road Network.

Isn’t that why Respironics moved from Bersted to Tangmere – to be close to the A27?

Isn’t that why Arun’s 2003 Local Plan has failed so spectacularly to attract employment interest for the Oldlands Farm site?

Tony Dixon,

Barons Close, Westergate