A heated debate last night saw residents in Tangmere dispute ideas of ‘volunteering’ for more housing.
The public meeting had been called by the parish council to find an appropriate response to a housing review that could add 500 homes to the 1,000 houses already allocated to the village.
Concerns were raised that consolidating development into one site would not stop developers reaching for more land afterwards.
Parish council chairman, Andrew Irwin, said the council had fought the 1,000 homes plan and lost, but he would seek that assurances any extra houses in the review would not go elsewhere.
Geoff Ayling, a resident, said assurances weren’t guarentees.
He said: “Developers are very canny at finding weasel ways around what we want to do if it’s in their favour.
“Even if it’s in the Neighbourhood Plan, they will find a way to change it.”
The 1,000 home masterplan is set to include a new school, public open space and allotments as well as money towards other infrastructure.
But an additional 500 homes could be allocated to Tangmere under a five-year housing review released earlier this month.
Cllr Irwin stressed the council would not agree to a specific number of homes, but would push for development to be constrained to the site already negotiated.
He said the parish ‘should have been realistic’ when the 1,000 home site was put out that it would end up being 1,250 to 1,300 or 1,500.
He said: “We don’t want them to tell us in five years time after we’ve negotiated the size of the open parks, the size of the open school and realise that had we known the numbers before, we would have
been due a bigger park and a bigger school.
“We’re trying to make sure the infrastructre that we get is related to the final numbers and not like at Shopwhyke where they get an extra 87 houses.”
Other issues of interest included whether increased density would lead to a poorer design and how to connect a larger village without creating a ‘rat run’ through the middle for school traffic.
In a show of hands, the majority of the 40 or so people present were in favour of the council’s idea, with around 10 people against it and around the same number undeclared.
A parish council meeting held immediately after the debate saw a unanimous vote to ask for housing, if it had to be taken, to be put in the larger, existing site plan rather than elsewhere.
Particular issues were raised with transport issues both inside and outside the village, with the load onthe A27 set to increase form mulitple nearby developments and the closure of the Oving traffic lights.
Speaking after the meeting, resident Geoff Coats, of Cheshire Cresent, said he was surprised the meeting had not been better publicised, but he agreed with the decision.
He said: “I think it’s a good idea. Maybe it would have been better if, at the beginning, they’d said that might not be the final result masterplan, but lot of people, they would have had our strategic plan and thought it was all laid out and now we’re going to add to it.”