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Submission by John Penfold on enterprise@BognorRegis


Dear Mr Meecham,

I wish to comment as follows on the above subject referring to the four allocated sites for employment at Bognor Regis, as shown in Policy SP3 of the Draft Local Plan.

Firstly, in line with comments made by Navigus in their submission on the Draft Local Plan, I would echo their view that the amount of Employment land allocated at Bognor Regis is excessive and beyond what is realistic in terms of likely take-up by investors in the Plan period, also being mindful of the Global and National economic situation which is likely to see zero or flat growth for many years to come.

As has been said by Navigus and in other submissions on the Draft Plan, Arun’s Policy is too aspirational for such a long period of 15 years, also the focus should be on up-skilling the potential labour force to give investors the confidence that starting a new enterprise at Bognor Regis will not be stymied by needing to recruit from all over the UK. We need jobs for our local people, particularly the young ones who are currently in education.

I would add that the amount of employment land allocated at Littlehampton is hugely out of balance with that at Bognor Regis ie only 3 hectares for new employment to serve 1950 new homes in the Plan period at Court Wick and North Littlehampton.

Is there some plan which is not in the public domain to refurbish old estates at Lineside and Harwood Road, which currently have many empty properties?

In terms of Bognor Regis, the Durban Road estates are run-down and unattractive, these should be refurbished or used for brownfield housing development as required by the NPPF, no brownfield land has been identified for housing in the Draft Local Plan.

Tenants or owners could be offered new premises on the other sites allocated or extensions to Southern Cross Trading Estate.

Two colleagues of mine have engineering businesses on Durban Road and would be pleased to be able to welcome their customers into more attractive premises.

The site 3 Oldlands Farm has failed to attract a single investor, apart from ASDA who were rejected, and this since 2003 during a period of growth, this site is 23.8 hectares.

Where is the evidence to suggest that a further allocation of 30.5 hectares at the Old LEC Airfield (site 4) will be more successful in tempting investors?

Despite the para.3.16 on site 4 “In the context of the Local Plan’s overall approach to meeting housing requirements for the District, the site is not available for general residential development (Use Class C3)” I object, as a large proportion at the southern end is stated as brownfield and this should be taken up for housing.

It would be suitable for low cost rental and buy housing, which is drastically under provided in Bognor Regis, it is close to all facilities including schools and bus services.

The Leisure Centre, Butlins and other entertainment is close by as is the Chichester Univ. Bognor campus, all within walking/cycling distance.

If site 4 were to be developed into an industrial/commercial estate it would substantially reduce the Green Corridor between Felpham and South Bersted and encroach into the Biodiversity Opportunity Area.

In summary, both Durban Road and Site 4 would make totally sustainable housing developments in brownfield locations that are where the need is identified.

There is more than enough employment land allocated at sites1,2 and 3 totalling 38.9 hectares for a sequentially developed Enterprise Area to match the availability of a skilled, locally housed workforce and improved transport links with the Northern BR Relief road.

In line with other comments by Navigus, Villages Action Group and the Parish Councils of Barnham, Eastergate and Aldingbourne, I suggest that a completely different approach is needed to balance employment and the provision of low cost housing in the Western part of Arun District.

The Draft District Plan as currently written will serve to direct potential investors towards Chichester and Southern Hampshire, leaving Arun as an out-commuting dormitory.

Please advise me if any meetings are to be held for the public on the subject of enterprise@bognorregis.

Yours faithfully

John Penfold

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