Fears over open space in Felpham

A VALUED open space in Felpham could be threatened by development, a councillor has warned.

Parish council member Mike Harvey said he feared Church Field could disappear under concrete after April.

The site of some four hectares was designated as public open space in Arun District Council’s local plan land use guidelines in April 2003.

But that protection runs out next month when the local plan reaches the end of its life. A replacement is probably two years away.

Cllr Harvey said he was concerned the time lag between the local plan ending and the new plan being adopted would encourage developers to seek to build on the field.

“I am worried that the field is vulnerable. Church Field has long been accepted as a local gap.

“Felpham is full,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that and that’s why open spaces such as Church Field are important.

“We need that sort of space on the edge of Bognor Regis. I would like to see that status of public open space kept as Arun goes into its new land use guidelines.”

Church Field is located between the A259 Felpham Way and St Mary’s Church. It is to the left as motorists drive into Bognor from Felpham.

A district council spokeswoman said it was confident it could resist development on any public open space.

“The local plan expires in April. However, Arun has in place a range of saved policies which ensure development is controlled.

“The policies are saved until they are replaced by new policies in an adopted development plan, or are no longer compliant with national or regional planning policy,” she said.

“In the case of Felpham Church Field, it would be protected as a public space under policy area five – the protection of open spaces – as well as being identified as a local gap.

“It would also be likely to be subject to protection under consideration of flooding issues.”