Home > Just and fair to all? > Public questions at the next Full Council meeting

Public questions at the next Full Council meeting


Former Councillor Tony Dixon has submitted the following two questions to be put at the next Arun Full Council meeting:

Public question to the Cabinet Member for Planning

Worthing Borough Council and Chichester District Council have both confirmed that they received a copy of the first draft of the emerging Strategic Housing Market Assessment Update 2012 for Coastal West Sussex on 7th June 2012. See www.whatdotheyknow.com Presumably, all councils received a copy on the same date.

This was 13 days before the Arun Full Council meeting of 20th June 2012, at which, the council approved the first draft of its emerging Local Plan for public consultation.

Can you please confirm:

a)    What date did Arun receive the first draft of the Strategic Housing Market Assessment Update 2012 for Coastal West Sussex?

I can find no public record that this important update to the council’s evidence base was provided to members prior to Full Council on 20th June 2012.

b)    What advice did you receive from officers on when this emerging evidence should be provided to members?

c)     What steps, if any, were taken to advise members of this important emerging evidence, prior to Full Council on 20th June 2012?

d)    Did cabinet members and non-cabinet members have access to the same information when voting at Full Council on 20th June 2012?

e)    What was the annual housing number being recommended in the draft SHMA?

f)     Did the findings of the emerging SHMA inform the members’ decision when approving the first draft of the council’s emerging Local Plan on 20th June 2012, or not?

Public question to the Cabinet Member for Planning

The SHMA makes it clear that Arun is seen as capable of assisting neighbouring councils with their housing provision.

By expressing a preference for development at Angmering, Barnham, Eastergate, and Aldingbourne in its recent draft Local Plan the council left the largest brownfield site in West Sussex, Ford Airfield, available for additional housing. Some might consider this as leaving the gates of Arun wide open!

Does the Cabinet Member agree with me that neighbouring councils and the Planning Inspectorate will always see Arun as capable of assisting neighbouring councils with their housing provision as long as it retains an undeveloped disused airfield?

Is it possible that, if members had been made aware of the essence of the emerging SHMA before Full Council on 20th June that they might have made a different decision on the strategic location and, did you consider that possibility when deciding whether or not to make the first draft of the SHMA available to members?

In failing to inform members of crucial information available to you and officers before asking them to approve the draft Local Plan does this create a risk that the Inspector will find the process flawed and the consultation unsound?

Public and members are entitled to know exactly what cabinet members and officers knew prior to Full Council on 20th June 2012. In the interests of transparency will the Cabinet Member make a copy of the first draft of the SHMA available to both public and members?

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