Home > A27 Arundel bypass, Brownfield or greenfield? > Local planning authorities should take account of the need for strategic infrastructure

Local planning authorities should take account of the need for strategic infrastructure


The following is a public question put to the leader of Arun District Council at the meeting of 18th April 2012. The question was submitted in writing, in advance, as a courtesy to the leader and to assist with accurate minuting.

“Over the last decade Arun District Council has steadfastly declined to link its housing requirements with improvements to the A27 at Arundel.

The new NPPF makes it clear that local planning authorities should take account of the need for strategic infrastructure including nationally significant infrastructure within their areas. Also, that they should encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed.

A new settlement of around 6,500 homes at Ford Airfield (which, at 268 acres, is the largest available brownfield site in West Sussex) might generate enough planning obligation (or Community Infrastructure Levy) to fund an Arundel Bypass (in addition to much needed homes and jobs) and would also reduce the pressure for greenfield development in other parts of the district.

Does the Leader agree with me that failure to properly consider a new settlement on brownfield land, and its potential to deliver an Arundel Bypass, will render the LDF unsound?”

This is how that question was minuted:

“Does the Leader agree that failure to properly consider a new settlement on brownfield land (with specific reference to Ford Airfield in the preamble to the question), and its potential to deliver an Arundel Bypass, will render the LDF unsound?”

Notice how the council has censored the public question in its minutes. The council’s minute has failed to recognise that the question was about the new NPPF, and its requirement for local planning authorities to take account of the need for strategic infrastructure and also to encourage the use of brownfield land. The question also draws attention to the fact that the council’s long standing refusal to link its housing requirements with improvements to the A27 at Arundel is now in conflict with the NPPF. This has all been airbrushed out.

This is the answer to the question as recorded in the minutes:

“To summarise the Leader’s response, she stated that she did not agree because, firstly, she disputed that Ford Airfield was considered to be a brownfield site as much of it had reverted back to agricultural use; secondly, the suggested cost to deliver the Arundel Bypass was in excess of £200m and all options were being investigated to assist with its delivery – housing was not the only option; and thirdly, the Eco Town Select Committee had concluded that the development of a new settlement at Ford would be unlikely to be able to support the delivery of the Bypass and all the other infrastructure that a new settlement would require.”

Has the council manipulated the minuting of this public question to serve its own agenda?

It is worth noting that an Eco-Town is just one “style” of new settlement which set a particularly high bar for environmental standards. Bypasses were considered to be against the environmental standards of the Eco Town process. If the promoters had put forward proposals for a bypass at Arundel that very fact could and would have been used against them.

Can Arun demonstrate that it has considered any other style of new settlement, where provision of a bypass might be considered in a different light?

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