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Representation from Tony Dixon to all Arun councillors

April 17, 2015 1 comment

Here is the representation from Tony Dixon to all Arun councillors

“Dear members

You are being asked to make the most far reaching decision you will ever be called upon to make in your time as District Councillors – a decision that will have a major impact on the economic and environmental wellbeing of future generations.

Should you support the officers’ “vision” for the district? Or, as members, do you feel there is a better way forward for our district?

Please consider the following points:

Access to/from the A27

Any development at Barnham, Eastergate and Westergate (which will be necessary to fund the road) is instantly flawed because of the additional traffic that will be caused by the development itself. A development of 2,000 plus houses located between Bognor Regis and the A27 could bring up to 3,000 extra vehicles onto the A29 (based on 1.5 cars per household). These extra vehicles will be located slap-bang between Bognor Regis and the A27.

How will the residents of 2,000 new houses join the new road ? … more roundabouts perhaps?

Is the replacement of one level crossing and a mini roundabout with up to 6 new roundabouts, and around 3,000 extra cars feeding in to them, an improvement on the current situation?

This will almost certainly make access to/from Bognor Regis worse and act as a disincentive to potential employers!

Has the council provided you with any evidence to show that the proposed new road will be an improvement on the current situation? Where’s the modelling?

Has the council considered the possibility of a third and additional route to/from the A27 for Bognor Regis, linking the A259 at Comet Corner to the A27, bridging the railway line at Ford, and connecting Bognor Regis to the SRN in the east (A24 and A23 – both of which are dual carriageway)? This would spread existing and new traffic over three routes rather than the current two. It would also combine with the A27 and A259 to form a “ring road” around the Five Villages.

Have your officers even considered linking Bognor Regis to the SRN in the east?

Duty to co operate

What happens if the Inspector at the EiP increases the housing number? Would it be better to identify a location that can accommodate future growth?

By excluding the largest brownfield site in West Sussex from the Local Plan, will this make it more or less likely that Arun is required to make provision for additional housing on behalf of Worthing and others?

Brownfield land

One of the 12 core planning principles of the new NPPF is that planning should “encourage the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value;

Paragraph 13.1.14 of the draft Local Plan states:  The development of land that has not previously been developed (greenfield) should only be considered where brownfield land cannot be developed.”

By prioritising greenfield development ahead of brownfield development could that jeopardise the Local Plan?

Cabinet and Officers will argue that only the runway counts as brownfield. The old PPG3 definition used to include the curtilage. (Presumably the curtilage was included to avoid runway shaped developments!!). Within the curtilage of the airfield there are 268 acres of brownfield land (making it the largest available brownfield site in West Sussex). I’m not sure if the new rules would include land up to the curtilage or not?

Developer contribution for an Arundel Bypass

The NPPF makes it clear that local planning authorities should take account of the need for strategic infrastructure including nationally significant infrastructure within their areas.

The then Transport Minister Philip Hammond brought our local infrastructure deficit into sharp focus when he advised a delegation from Sussex in 2011 that, although there was no funding available for an Arundel Bypass, if it was possible to get developer contributions the government would be more willing to look at doing something.

Can your officers demonstrate to you that they have properly explored the possibility of a developer contribution towards an A27 Arundel Bypass?

(By contrast, in order to make progress in these difficult times Chichester and WSCC are putting up £20 million towards improvements to the A27 to be funded through a combination of developer contributions and provident loans).

The A27 Arundel Bypass Wider Economic Impact Study by Parsons Brinkerhoff in March 2013 said:

“Based on the extensive Business Survey undertaken in the area and initial analysis, the preliminary results indicated the following:

An additional £493m would be added to total West Sussex GVA of £15.257bn;

Employment Impact: an additional annualised total of 12,600 jobs would be added throughout the seven districts in West Sussex;

Personal Income Tax Receipts: across all seven districts, an annualised total of £82m would accrue to Government in the form of personal income tax receipts from new employment;

Reductions in Jobseekers’ Allowance: across all seven districts, Government would gain approximately £38m from reductions in Jobseekers’ Allowance payments;

Increase in Disposable Income: the increases in employment will support additional disposable income being spent in the county. The preliminary estimate of this is £108m throughout all seven districts;

Attracting investment: the existence of the Arundel Bypass will remove the current bottleneck on the A27 and will significantly improve the ‘attractiveness’ of the corridor in terms of attracting investment and inducing land development (through distribution centres and business parks etc);”

Infrastructure

The main objective with village extensions (albeit in this case dressed up as a new settlement!) is to utilise and therefore increase pressure on existing infrastructure like health facilities, schools, roads, sewage etc.

Genuine new settlements, on the other hand, provide their own infrastructure – placing much less burden on existing infrastructure, effectively spreading the pressure.

For instance, the existing sewage network across the district already struggles to cope. A new settlement at Ford would utilise the adjacent sewage works, placing no additional pressure on the existing network.

A new settlement on Flood Zone 1 land at Ford would reduce the risk of flooding in areas like Felpham and Middleton (which are downstream from the council’s proposed strategic allocation at Barnham, Eastergate, Westergate) – with easy drainage to the River Arun.

Members should demand that any strategic locations identified in the Local Plan MUST

  • Be on flood zone 1 land
  • Have no urban areas downstream
  • Provide easy drainage to the sea
  • Not utilise the already overburdened rifes for drainage
  • Not, in any way, add to, or make worse, any existing flood risks/problems

The Local Plan is unlikely to resolve the existing flooding issues but we can try to make sure it does not add to the risks/problems.

A single new settlement can offer infrastructure contributions on a far greater scale than a number of smaller developments peppered across the district.

Employment

Arun’s main industries are traditionally horticulture/agriculture, tourism and retail. In essence Arun is a low-paid and largely seasonal economy compared with other parts of West Sussex.  Our problem is not unemployment – it is low pay.

To drive average wage levels up Arun will need to focus on creating better paid employment outside the tourism, retail and horticultural/agricultural sectors.

The lower the average wage the greater the need for affordable housing is likely to be. Arun has a deficit of affordable housing.

Low wage levels create an unacceptably high level of outbound commuting. Currently around 37 per cent of the working population leave the district each day to work creating substantial road congestion, particularly at peak times.

The Living Wage is a voluntary rate of pay designed to enable workers to afford a basic but acceptable standard of living.  The rate is currently £8.55 an hour in London and £7.45 outside – compared to the national minimum wage which stands at £6.31. New research for KPMG shows that Arun District has the highest number of people earning a salary below the living wage in the south east.

Over 34% of the 31,000 jobs in Arun pay less than the living wage, which means that Arun has the lowest living wages in the entire south east. By contrast, nationally 21% of jobs pay below the living wage. The south east average is 18%.

According to Nomis the average gross weekly wage for those working in Arun in 2010 was £399 – the lowest of the seven councils in West Sussex. This compares to a West Sussex average of £479 (20 per cent higher) and a South East average of £523 (31 per cent higher). The national average is £500 (25 per cent higher).

Arun ranks 63rd out of 67 local authorities in South East England when it comes to the ratio of jobs to population aged 16-64. (Jobs Density).

The 2003 Local Plan has failed to attract employment interest for the Oldlands Farm site. In spite of this, the council remains committed to planning its employment provision in this area.

Proposals for Airfield Park (or is it now Enterprise@BognorRegis) seem fanciful and the council does not appear to have a strategy to attract employers to Airfield Park.

Most of Airfield Park is in Flood Zone 3 (land most at risk from flooding). What businessman in his right mind will locate his business in Flood Zone 3?

In a choice between Tangmere and Airfield Park employers will choose the one that is nearest to the A27. A local company Respironics (now owned by Philips) moved from Bersted to Tangmere to be closer to the A27. The council appears to have learned no lessons from this. Any business park needs to be close to the A27 to succeed.

One of your cabinet members is promoting a horticultural hub – yet at the same time existing viable horticultural employment sites at Angmering (80 jobs?), North Littlehampton (200 jobs?) and Eastergate (100 jobs?) are to be closed so that the sites can be used for housing? That’s minus 380 jobs before we even start creating more low paid horticultural jobs!

There are many pressures on members now. There is a risk that the council is in such difficulty that it has reached a stage where anything will do – as long as it’s quick! There is a genuine risk that you will now be pressured into a bad decision.

For those of you who are open-minded enough to have read this far – thank you.

Good luck with a very difficult decision – I hope that you will make the only sound decision available to you and reconsider Ford Airfield!”

 

 

A27 and A358 road cash to fund rail fare freeze, Labour says

April 14, 2015 1 comment

This is a letter I sent to our local papers in January.

Sir 

The problem we face in Arun District is one of economic stagnation. The main reason for this is the poor infrastructure generally, a dysfunctional Strategic Road Network (SRN) and, in particular, the lack of an Arundel bypass at the heart of the district. 

An A27 bypass at Arundel is crucial to the delivery of local, regional and national policies which seek the realisation of economic potential in the Sussex Coastal Sub-Region and turning around areas of deprivation in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton. 

Against this background, the recent announcement of £250 million funding for an Arundel bypass is very welcome news. However, we have heard it all before and so, naturally, some are already expressing concern that this funding might be withdrawn by the next government – which may have different priorities. 

If the Coast to Capital local enterprise partnership, West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council don’t press home the case for an Arundel bypass by visibly demonstrating how they will utilise this investment, then a future government might feel justified in withdrawing the funding. We must be seen to use it – or run the risk of losing it! 

So what steps can Coast to Capital, WSCC and ADC now take to “lock in” this funding, and before the next election? 

Proposals for an Enterprise Zone in Arun are the right idea but in the wrong location. Do we want Arun’s proposed Enterprise Zone to be located on land in Flood Zone 3, some miles from the A27, as is currently proposed? Or should it be located on brownfield land, in Flood Zone 1, astride the south coast railway line, and a stone’s throw from the proposed A27 Arundel bypass – at Ford airfield? 

Circumstances in West Sussex have changed materially as a direct result of the recent announcement from central government, and so, Coast to Capital, WSCC and ADC should now respond quickly to “lock-in” that funding, by initiating a change in location for Arun’s proposed Enterprise Zone. If we build our economic plans around an Arundel Bypass a future government will find it much harder to withdraw the funding!

Here’s what the Labour party has just announced.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-england-32288830

Call me Mystic Meg!!!

Highways Agency response to the Arun Local Plan 2011-2031 Publication Version consultation

January 21, 2015 Leave a comment

Here is the Highways Agency response to the Arun Local Plan 2011-2031 Publication Version consultation:

Highways Agency response to the Arun Local Plan 2011-2031 Publication Version consultation

I would like to thank all the various agencies and organisations for providing me with their submissions. I welcome their openness and transparency.

The only submission I have been unable to obtain a copy of is that of the ever secretive Villages Action Group!!

Ford Enterprise Hub (FEH) response to the Arun Local Plan 2011-2031 Publication Version consultation

December 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Here is the Ford Enterprise Hub (FEH) representation to the Arun Local Plan 2011-2031 publication version, policies maps and sustainability appraisal consultation.

FEH representation Arun Local Plan 2011-2031 Publication Version Representation Form – part A

FEH representation 1 _Purpose of FEH representations_

FEH representation 2 _employment – Flood Zone 3_

FEH representation 3 _employment – wage levels_

FEH representation 4 _employment – connecting Bognor Regis to the SRN_

FEH representation 5 _relating to soundness_

FEH representation 6 _breach of natural justice_

FEH representation 7 _Cabinet Member for Planning attacks community on TV_

FEH representation 8 _bias in the dissemination of information_

FEH representation 9 _flawed public consultations_

FEH representation 10 _Eco Town Select Committee membership_

FEH representation 11 _duty to cooperate_

FEH representation 12 _brownfield land_

FEH representation 13 _sewerage and energy from waste_

FEH representation 14 _the Arundel setting_

FEH representation 15 _transport hub_

FEH representation 16 _housing delivery and strategic locations_

FEH representation 17 _access to from the A27_

FEH representation 18 _Cabinet manipulation of Local Plan sub committee_

FEH representation 19 _evidence withheld from Local Plan Sub Committee_

FEH representation 20 _delays to LDF and Local Plan_

FEH representation 21 _announcement of government funding for an Arundel Bypass_

Appendix 1 – Arun press release – Dismay at Eco Town announcement

Appendix 2 – Transcript of BBC Inside Out programme 24.09.08

Appendix 3 – Cabinet Member for Planning statement to Aldingbourne Parish Council 16.11.08

Appendix 4 -Cabinet Member for Planning apology to Cllr Mrs Briggs 16.11.08

Appendix 5 – Cabinet Member for Planning resigns – Bognor Observer 18.12.08

Appendix 6 – Derek Waller reference to blind copies

Appendix 7 – ICO warns Arun re future conduct

Appendix 8 – CAFE meetings schedule at Arun

Appendix 9 – VAG web site home page

Appendix 10 – Cllr Dr Walsh – Bognor Observer 24.04.08

Appendix 11 – Shadow Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government letter – August 2009

Appendix 12 – Resolve your own housing issues, Arun Cabinet Member tells Chichester

Appendix 13 – Notorious crossing will be replaced, vows chief

Arundel bypass announced!

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Highlights of today’s announcement are:

  • improvements will be made to around 10 of the 31 junctions on the M25, including
    • expanding junction 30 to improve access to the new London Gateway port
    • a major rebuilding of junction 10, improving the least-safe junction on the motorway network
    • significant capacity enhancements between junctions 10 and 16 on the main carriageway, with new smart motorway technology to improve capacity and ease congestion
    • a strategic study to look at long-term answers to conditions on the south-west quadrant of the M25, that can make the route effective for a generation to come
  • investing around £350 million to transform the A27, with a new bypass at Arundel to complete the ‘missing link’, plus further improvements around Worthing, Lancing and Lewes – this will help the A27 link together as a single route, supporting the development of the local economy and removing notorious congestion hotspots
  • better access to ports, through
    • enhanced junctions on the A20 in Dover, for better access to the port and supporting new homes and jobs
    • improvements to the M271 Redbridge junction, required to get to Southampton docks
  • the A34, the main route from the Midlands to Southampton, will see investment of £30 million to ensure a crucial freight link and enhanced junctions will improve journeys around Oxford and Winchester
  • the A31 at Ringwood will be widened to help local traffic crossing the Avon and substantially improving safety
  • a new feasibility study will look at creating an expressway link between Oxford and Cambridge via Milton Keynes, fixing a long-standing gap in the network and bringing new capacity to support the growth of Bicester
A27 Chichester Improvement A27 Chichester Bypass: upgrading the four junctions on the Chichester bypass 2013
A27 Arundel Bypass A27 Arundel: new dual carriageway bypass, subject to consultation with the National Parks Authority, local authorities and the publication of this and alternative options Autumn Statement 2014
A27 Worthing and Lancing improvements A27 Worthing and Lancing: improvements to capacity and junctions along the A27, subject to consultation with West Sussex County Council and the public Autumn Statement 2014

Arguments for A27 improvements. Quotes taken from the A27 debate on 13th December 2005

October 4, 2014 1 comment

Quotes taken from the A27 debate on 13th December 2005.

Peter Bottomley MP – Just in case the Minister has not been down to the A27 recently, his advisers will tell him that it is faster to go through Chichester than to use the bypass, it is sometimes faster to go through Arundel than to use the bypass, and it is probably faster to go along the coast road than along the national road in Worthing, Shoreham and Lancing.

Nick Herbert MP – The bypass that exists runs between two sides of the town, cutting off one mainly residential half from the town centre. If one travels west on the A27, having eventually escaped the congestion in Worthing, one will get on to a dual carriageway for a few precious miles, but it simply runs out at Arundel. The flyover is there, and was ready for the dual carriageway to continue, but lies moribund.

Nick Herbert MP – That has a serious impact in several respects, the first of which is congestion. Traffic flows are continually rising on the A27. In the six years between 1994 and 2000 alone, they increased by 25 per cent. Traffic flows on the A27 are three to four times more than the designed capacity of the road, which causes long tailbacks.

Nick Herbert MP – The traffic flow on the A27 through Arundel—a town of 4,200 inhabitants—was 27,000 vehicles a day in 2001. As the right hon. Member for North-West Durham (Hilary Armstrong), then a Transport Minister, said in 2000:

“Few can deny that the volume of traffic that passes through Arundel daily has an impact on the quality of life both of local residents and of those who must use this section of the A27 for their journey.”—[Official Report, Westminster Hall, 7 March 2000; Vol. 345, c. 152WH.]

Nick Herbert MP – There is also an impact on safety. The accident rate in Arundel is twice the national average for the type of road and four times the national average for dual carriageways……….. The Highways Agency estimates that off-line improvements to the A27 at Arundel would prevent 425 accidents and 580 casualties over the next 30 years.

Tim Loughton MP – The level of traffic in West Sussex over the next 10 years is predicted to increase by as much as 23 per cent. An increase of a quarter in the congestion that we already have can only lead to those roads being completely gridlocked in the next few years.

Nick Herbert MP – There is an impact in terms of local pollution and an environmental impact as traffic is pushed away from the A27, rat-running through the South Downs area of outstanding natural beauty.

Nick Herbert MP – While the economy of the south-east is strong, and the economy of West Sussex has traditionally performed well, there are significant areas of deprivation along the south coast, and pockets of long-term unemployment. Poor transport links continue to hamper economic growth and investment in those areas and along the whole south coast. It is estimated, on the basis of figures compiled by Sussex Enterprise and British Chambers of Commerce, that problems with transport infrastructure cost Sussex businesses an average of £29,000 a year. Cumulatively, that is an annual cost of £2 billion to the Sussex economy. The South East England Development Agency highlights the fact that one of the main issues facing the south-east is regeneration. It states:

“Major transport projects of regional significance for regeneration of the coastal South East include the comprehensive improvement of the A27, especially deliverable solutions for Worthing and Arundel.”

Nick Herbert MP – The Government’s house building plans will also be affected by inadequate transport infrastructure. The South East England regional assembly has proposed that West Sussex should provide 58,000 new homes over the next two decades. The Deputy Prime Minister could impose larger numbers still. As West Sussex county council points out, however,

“any further development would depend on infrastructure capacity being available, especially on the A27.”

That infrastructure is not available at the moment.

Peter Bottomley MP – I think I can speak for the other Members whose constituencies are on the A27. We all know that Arundel should be dealt with first. Worthing is important but probably comes second, along with Chichester. If that saves consultation, it probably saves a year.

Nick Herbert MP – In conclusion, I would like to ask the Minister how many times we have to make the case for a bypass and for improvements to the A27. Frankly, the economic case is unarguable and I believe that there is also a strong environmental case. We have been waiting 20 years since the bypass was first agreed by the Government. It has strong local support. Of course, there are some exceptions, but most people back it. In a MORI poll commissioned by the South East England Regional Agency last year, 82 per cent. of residents cited traffic levels in the region as an area of major concern—on a par with crime as a key issue. About 72 per cent indicated a preference for bypasses that would draw traffic around towns. If the Minister is unmoved by the local case, the impact on the regional economy should surely be of concern to him. Now is the time to end the delay and give the go-ahead to improvements to the A27 at Arundel and also at Chichester and Worthing.

Andrew Tyrie MP – I agree that the Minister is a good chap, as my hon. Friend the Member for Worthing, West (Peter Bottomley) said a moment ago, but I really do think that he is slightly off the rails now. He has said four times that the proposed road improvements are close to an area of outstanding natural beauty and that they might cause environmental damage. Surely we need some joined-up government, particularly in the Chichester area but throughout the region. Will the Minister speak to his opposite numbers and do something about the huge amount of house building that is going on, which is creating the demand on the road and generating the pressure? One lot are building the houses while the other lot are saying that we cannot improve the road because it is near an area of outstanding natural beauty.

 

Arundel bypass – act now or lose the argument!

October 4, 2014 5 comments

I am in favour of an Arundel bypass. The problem we face in Arun District is one of economic stagnation. The main reason for this is the poor infrastructure generally and in particular the lack of an Arundel Bypass.

It is anticipated that the Chancellor will announce funding for selected road schemes in his autumn statement on December 3rd 2014. The competition for such funding is fierce. Feasibility studies are currently being carried out on a number of schemes nationally, one of which is for an Arundel bypass. Will the Arundel bypass win funding this time around?

The last time this subject was up for consideration the then Chancellor Alistair Darling turned the scheme down for ‘environmental reasons’. There can be no doubt – it was a huge success for environmental pressure groups.

Now, once again, environmental pressure groups are lobbying government to oppose a bypass at Arundel. See http://scate.org.uk/ as an example.

Those who support the need for an Arundel Bypass must also lobby government. Complacency is not an option.

Write to:

Secretary of State for Transport

Patrick McLoughlin

Department for Transport

Great Minster House

33 Horseferry Road

London

SW1P 4DR

E-mail: patrick.mcloughlin.mp@parliament.uk

Now to dispel a couple of the myths being used as arguments against an Arundel bypass:

It is inaccurate to call the proposed Arundel bypass a second bypass (which some opponents are doing). They say “why do we need a bypass when we have got one already”.

The section of A27 at Arundel is described by Ordnance Survey in some of its mapping as a bypass. In fact, this section was provided as a relief road until such time as a full bypass could be provided.

When the government announced its feasibility study into improvements to the A27 at Arundel I wrote to Ordnance Survey to ask them to review this classification.

After reviewing this classification, Ordnance Survey now confirms that this section of the A27 is a relief road and that “We have amended the text on our large scale mapping to reflect this. This amendment will be made to our other mapping scales in due course.”

Also, there are two kinds of ancient woodland, ‘ancient semi-natural’ and ‘ancient replanted’. Tortington Common (through which the pink/blue route passes – which is currently under reconsideration) is ‘ancient replanted’.

I believe that the preservation of ‘ancient semi-natural’ woodland will deservedly receive much support, including mine. However, if there is a case to preserve ‘ancient replanted’ woodland then it is a very different argument and should be made separately – and not confused with ‘ancient semi-natural’ woodland. The truth is that much of the ‘ancient semi-natural’ woodland was destroyed in the storm of 1987, and is now just conifer plantation.

Magicmap by Natural England separates ancient woodland into ‘Ancient and Semi-Natural Woodland’ and ‘Ancient Replanted Woodland’.

See http://www.natureonthemap.naturalengland.org.uk/MagicMap.aspx

Key objectives to be met by improvements to the A27 at Arundel

An Arundel bypass is crucial to the delivery of local, regional and national policies which seek the realisation of economic potential in the Sussex Coastal Sub-Region and turning around areas of deprivation in Bognor Regis and Littlehampton.

Attracting inward investment in better paid jobs calls for major improvements on the SRN and in access to it from those towns.

Key objectives are:

Removal of the cause of severance to the town of Arundel.

Removal of the source of noise and air pollution for those living close to the present line of the road.

Improvement in safety and traffic flow on the trunk road.

Freedom for the local authorities to make improvements to the local network through:

(i)            Reduction in through traffic on Ford Road, Arundel.

(ii)           greater safety and easier traffic flow on A259 and A284

(iii)          safe provision for pedestrians and cyclists on the present line of the A27 between Crossbush, the station, Town, Hospital and HavenwoodPark

Completion of the strategic road network to create conditions in which the economic potential of the district can be fully realised and major investment can be attracted.

Freedom for the local authorities to plan for sustainable transport and sustainable growth in Arun.

A substantial district-wide carbon saving to be achieved through a significant reduction in journey times.

Deter rat-running through the proposed South Downs National Park to the north and through villages to the south to avoid congestion on the A27.

Secure the economic future of our next generation.