Determined residents fighting 'overdevelopment of homes' in Pagham - 'Local anger has been palpable'

"It seems very hard on these existing home owners that they are losing a heavy proportion of their property values, in addition to having their lives ruined."

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 10:17 am
Updated Thursday, 6th May 2021, 11:23 am

That was the message from an Arun district councillor, who is supporting Pagham residents' fight against a perceived 'overdevelopment of homes'.

A petition was launched in January by Nigel and Sara Rawlins, who claimed that the district council's planning department was using 'outdated and obsolete' policies to determine applications.

The couple hoped the petition would force the full council to discuss the issue.

Nigel Rawlins (pictured, centre) led a protest against ongoing development works in Summer Lane earlier this year.  Photo: Steve Robards SR2101201
Nigel Rawlins (pictured, centre) led a protest against ongoing development works in Summer Lane earlier this year. Photo: Steve Robards SR2101201

Despite attracting more than 2,000 signatures, the petition has been deemed invalid by Arun District Council.

A council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that following a thorough verification process, the petition organisers have been informed that there were not enough valid petition signatures at this point, to qualify for a full council debate.

"We will make contact with the organisers to discuss how best to progress this matter.”

Mr Rawlins remains unsatisfied with the explanation, adding: "The whole thing is about wasting time before it becomes a complete nonsense.

"Pagham was voted as the strategic area for housing planning, how can that be? A village on the side of the sea with only country roads.

"We can't get traffic down it because everything is blocked.

"They are still trying to build 2,500 houses on Chalcraft Lane, on top of the 2,000 in Pagham.

"Many thousands of cars trying to use a road that we can't even use now. It takes us 45 minutes to go from Pagham to Chichester in the morning after 7.30. One accident and the whole road is closed."

The residents' fight to get their voices heard is being supported by the Arun district councillor for Pagham, June Hamilton, who sits on the planning committee.

In particular, she raised concerns about how residents are being treated 'appallingly badly', whilst developments works are ongoing.

"Local anger has been palpable for some time," she said. "Trucks, diggers and caterpillars obstruct [Summer] Lane almost all through the working day and nothing has been done to protect the residents from almost continuous terrible noise levels.

"The exit turning left out of Summer Lane is dangerous due to traffic size and volume coming out into the Pagham Road turning left facing oncoming traffic, on the wrong side of road, due to other obstructions."

Ms Hamilton said the access road is 'continuously blocked' and even two small cars often cannot pass, whilst the pavement and roads are 'full of trip hazards'.

She added: "Also it can be difficult for residents to get deliveries through and two local residents, who live at the end of their lane, are not getting their Royal Mail deliveries, as is their right."

The councillor said the 'former paradise for wildlife' and rural retreat for people has been 'turned into a nightmare' of dust, mud and pollution, and 'unbearable noise', adding: "It is unfit for any habitation.

"It seems very hard on these existing home owners that they are losing a heavy proportion of their property values, in addition to having their lives ruined."

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