News


Controversy grows over A27 plans

Proposals by Highways England for easing congestion on the A27 between Shoreham and Worthing have been met with increasing derision.

Adur and Worthing councils have called for the current public consultation to be scrapped and for the entire exercise to be started afresh.

Council leaders have called the consultation a 'sham', and although the councils intend to submit formal responses by the September 12 deadline, they want Highways England to re-think the entire scheme and arrange a completely new consultation process.

The Highways England suggestions currently proposed involve spending 69m on six junctions between Durrington Hill and Lancing Manor - which most commentators have said would be ineffective and a waste of money.

Adur Council leader Neil Parkin described it as "like re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic."

Some people have called for far more extensive improvements to the A27, while others say a completely different approach is needed, with smarter solutions such as integrated traffic systems and strategies for social change to vehicle usage.

The official consultation is at this Highways England website.

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Consent sought for 600-home New Monks Farm plan

A planning application has been submitted for the controversial New Monks Farm development proposed to the west of Shoreham Airport.

Extensive housing development in this area is included in the draft Adur Local Plan, despite concerns about the impact on local infrastructure and fears of flooding. Lancing Parish Council has opposed large-scale development here.

Some 600 homes and a new primary school are proposed, plus business and commercial premises including a large IKEA store.

A 28-hectare country park is also proposed in response to concerns over loss of open space.

In January the Government's Local Growth Fund allocated 5.7m for road works to support the development.

The planning application and numerous associated documents can be viewed on this Adur council website using the search reference AWDM/0961/17.

The same council website also provides opportunity for comments, which should be submitted by August 21 (extended to Sept 29 for neighbours). Individual contact with local councillors is another effective way to express views, and many people choose both methods.

HISTORY: Housing development on this site - once thought unlikely because of perceived flood risk - was proposed in 2013 and later added to the draft Adur Local Plan to help meet the Government's housing target. Initial proposals amended in 2015 after various concerns were raised. Government funding of 5.7m allocated in January for roadworks associated with the development.

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Housing alarm as Adur Local Plan nears approval

The Shoreham Society is seeking clarification of proposed changes to Adur's future planning strategy which appear to lift guideline limits on house-building in the area.

A Government inspector scrutinising the draft Adur Local Plan has made suggestions for modifying it, including changing the word "approximate" to "minimum" when referring to housing numbers at several sites.

Although the inspector is not recommending new areas for development beyond those already earmarked, his proposed changes of wording - which Adur Council has also adopted - could significantly reduce local control over harmful over-development.

Having only the minimum targets specified with no guidance on maximums could mean the numbers of housing units could soar.

The inspector's recommendations and related documents can be seen here, and people can comment on it by July 26.

The Shoreham Society, which is submitting a detailed response, has welcomed the inspector's indication that no new sites need to be added to those already in the draft plan. This should mean that controversial proposals by developers for housing off New Salts Farm Road, and by Steyning Road near the Adur flyover, will be easier for the council to block as these sites are not in the plan. (... although councillors are already dithering over the flyover site, having delayed a decision despite their officers recommending refusal).

The society has also welcomed the inspector's indication that the proportion of affordable housing should be increased.

But the society wants the council to have enough power to ensure that developments earmarked in the plan are carefully controlled to address the impact on infrastructure, local services andthe environment.

Some 3,500 new homes are proposed for Adur by 2031, and although this number is significantly lower than previous Government targets, such rate of development is inevitably controversial.

Tension between meeting housing demand and limiting harmful overdevelopment is a key issue. There has been much debate over whether the Local Plan's housing provisions are driven more by profit opportunities for developers than by any genuine attempt to meet local housing needs.

Concerns are also recognised about traffic congestion and resultant air pollution, and also flood risk and strain on local services.

HISTORY: Process began 2014. Consultations and amendments in 2015 and 2016. Submission to Government Oct 2016. Public hearings by Government Inspector held in Feb 2017. Consultation on his conclusions being held during summer 2017. Adoption expected by the end of the year.

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Action demanded on congestion and air pollution

Deep concerns over local traffic congestion and pollution have led to calls for urgent action and planning strategies to improve Shoreham's air quality.

With pollution soaring from increased traffic as more local housing is built, a local environmental group supported by the Shoreham Society and other organisations has been studying the health implications.

Adur Residents Environmental Action (AREA) has conducted detailed monitoring of traffic levels and air quality, and the results were described as "disturbing" at a public meeting in June.

The meeting heard that pollution near the busy roads regularly exceeds harmful levels, and the problem is worsening as new housing brings significant increases in traffic.

Councils are facing what seems to be an impossible dilemma ... meeting strict Government minimum targets for allowing housing developments but without failing equally strict Government demands to bring dangerous air pollution levels to within legal limits.

Dangerous air pollution is just one issue that has led to calls for much smarter traffic and transport management as the local population increases.

Better access to Shoreham town centre has been demanded for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport, with all three being given high priority over cars, vans and lorries.

The Shoreham Society and AREA are also urging the local authorities to address these problems when considering local planning proposals.

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Controversy grows over Ham Road car park plan

Plans for an office block on the site of the former Shoreham Civic Centre car park in Ham Road have caused alarm among residents of Gordon Road.

The proposal is for 2,300 square meters of floorspace for a hi-tech business, supporting around 200 jobs.

The residents say the proposed block - of three floors above a parking area making four storeys in total - will deprive them of light and privacy, and they list a range of other grounds for concern. They have lodged objectionsto the planning application due to be considered by Adur Council.

Meanwhile, redevelopment of main Civic Centre site on the south side of Ham Road continues to be debated by councillors, who are keen to see it used for new housing and retail.

Talks between Adur Council and the developers originally selected for transforming the area broke down and the council has been seeking a new partnership to get the project back on track.

HISTORY: Civic Centre built in 1980 to provide Adur Council's HQ. As council services increasingly became joint operations with Worthing, it was recognised ADC didn't need so much office space. Departments started relocating in 2013, and last council staff moved out in 2016 to new extension of Shoreham Centre.

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New proposals for Beach Green

New proposals have been put forward for developing the site which includes the old toilet block on Beach Green, Shoreham Beach.

Earlier proposals floundered following the withdrawal of interest by the developer selected by the council, but Adur Council is now in talks with an acclaimed development company and the high-profile DJ Fatboy Slim.

Beach Green proposal

They are suggesting a multi-function community hub on similar lines to successful ventures at Shoreditch and Croydon as well as Fatboy Slim's Big Beach Cafe in Hove Lagoon.

Under the working name of Big Beach Box, the Shoreham Beach concept includes a new community cafe which could also have a roof terrace, changing rooms, and a centre for watersports.

A planning application is expected later this year and if approved, work could start early in 2018.

HISTORY: Redevelopment of the old toilet block has been a long-term intention for years. ADC chose a preferred developer in Spring 2016. Proposals were suggested and consultation conducted, but the preferred developer pulled out in Autumn 2016. New proposal put forward by Big Beach partnership in 2017, with planning application expected by year-end.

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Tighter parking controls urged

Adur Council and the police are being urged to clamp down on illegal, obstructive and inconsiderate parking in the town.

The Shoreham Society is calling on the authorities to take a firmer line on bad parking after receiving increasing complaints from members about selfish and illegal road behaviour.

Unauthorised parking in disabled bays, on pavements and yellow lines and in dangerous positions at junctions have all noticeably increased as road congestion has risen, says the society.

With the town's population increasing dramatically with new housing developments, the society predicts the problem will continue to get worse unless parking regulations are more diligently enforced.

Spurred by an initiative by local resident Barry Ruffell, who has raised the issue with councillors and relevant officers, the 500-strong society is adding its voice in pressing for the council's parking enforcement officers, and the police in serious cases, to wage war against anti-social and illegal parking.

Mr Ruffell, a musician with the popular local acoustic trio The Rude Mechanicals, has identified several town-centre spots where parking infringements regularly cause problems, and the society is asking its own members to report examples of anti-social parking. It can be done by phoning the council's parking services dpt on 0345 680 0189, and/or emailing the principal parking officer Jason Passfield. Residents who feel this is an important issue are also advised to inform their local councillor.

A society spokesman said: "At the moment there is a prevailing attitude by some motorists that 'it'll be OK here for just a few minutes while I pop into the shop or do this little errand'. They disregard the likelihood that their selfishly parked car will cause obstruction, inconvenience and possibly danger.

"A change of social attitude is needed, and the best way to bring that about will be for people to know there's a very high chance of finding their illegally-parked car ticketed."

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Affordable housing minimum urged

The Shoreham Society is calling on Adur council to insist that new residential developments must have a minimum of 30 per cent affordable housing - and up to 40 per cent for large developments.

The society says council planners should adopt a robust policy on housing, not letting developers cut back on the 30/40 per cent national guidelines for affordable properties or social housing.

Society members are concerned about a growing trend by developers to offer the full recommended quota of affordable housing at first, but later say it is not viable and seek a reduction before building.

A society spokesman said: "Councillors and planning officers in many areas are proving weak in response to developers' demands, allowing genuine local housing needs to be compromised in pursuit of what they mistakenly believe to be economic regeneration.”

"It can lead to a reduction in the provision of affordable homes, urgently required to meet the housing shortage for local families and workers. Instead it brings a predominance of high-cost luxury housing bringing much higher profits for developers but causing major social problems by attracting buyers from outside the area and increasing the strain on already-overstretched local infrastructure and services."

The society is urging councillors and planning officers to firmly resist any reductions in proposed affordable or social housing, to demand that developers open their books to independent inspection if they claim that the guidelines are not viable, and to decline planning consent for schemes that put profits before meeting real local housing needs.

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Free Wharf concessions "not enough"

Public pressure has resulted in a big reduction of proposed building heights at the Free Wharf site off Brighton Road, Shoreham. But there's concern that the changes don't go far enough.

Southern Housing Group (SHG) say that following public comments after their initial plans were published they have made several changes to their ideas for the former Minelco site.

The biggest change is that the maximum height proposed is now eight storeys - down from 14. The reduction has been welcomed but pressure will remain for further modification. The Shoreham Society has said three to five storeys would be far more appropriate.

More open space and lower density are also promised, with the number of housing units down from 550 to 483 - but still a lot more than the 400 originally indicated for the site.

Another area of serious concern is a reduction in the proportion of units classed as affordable housing, resulting in more strain on local infrastructure and services without sufficiently tackling the genuine housing shortage.

Shoreham Society chairman Gerard Rosenburg has urged that a sense of relief over concessions made in the revised plans should not cloud judgement about whether the development is now acceptable.

"The new proposal must be assessed anew, entirely on its own merits," he said. "Is it right for Shoreham?"

Click here to see an artist's impression of the revised proposal.

More information on SHG's plans for Free Wharf is on their website www.freewharf.info

HISTORY: Site earmarked for redevelopment in 2012. Morrisons announced plan for superstore on part of site in 2015, but backed out after a few months. Southern Housing Group bought site in late 2015 and proposed major housing and commercial redevelopment. More detailed proposals announced in May 2016, with revisions publicised in December 2016. Building heights remain a local concern, plus lower-than-recommended proportion of affordable housing.

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Revised Ropetackle extension approved

Adur Council has approved revised plans for extending Shoreham's Ropetackle area - including a controversial proposal for a higher building than previously indicated.

Permission has been granted for a block of flats to be given an extra storey, despite strong local concerns about tall buildings. 

The riverside area north of the railway line, to be called Ropetackle North, is to be developed by the Hyde Group with 120 new residential units - 60 houses and 60 flats.

The proportion of affordable housing has been left negotiable - a departure from normal planning procedures. The Shoreham Society wants to see a firm commitment to the recommended government minimum of 30 per cent before building permission is finalised.

Society committee member Gerry Thompson said: "In a highly desirable riverside setting such as this, all the rest of the dwellings will be seen as extremely attractive and valuable properties and will draw in people from outside Adur, thus adding to pressure on roads and infrastructure but doing nothing to alleviate the pressing local housing shortage.

"The question of sufficient affordable housing is a key issue often raised by residents and we are keen to represent these concerns in relation to this and other development sites - notably the Free Wharf (ex-Minelco) site."

A small hotel, a supermarket and a riverfront cafe were also initially proposed for Ropetackle North, plus shops and offices, together with new public open spaces and an improvement to the riverside footpath. But some of these features, including the hotel, are on hold until a later stage.

Although the Ropetackle extension was inevitable, the additional housing raises concern about pressure on local infrastructure and services, especially as other residential developments in the town are already bringing a huge increase in the local population.

The planning reference for seeing the application details on Adur Council's website is AWDM/1006/16.

HISTORY: Site earmarked some 10 years ago for redevelopment. Proposals by Hyde group outlined early 2016, modified Nov 2016 raising concerns about heights and potentially reduced affordable housing. Planning consent approved December 2016.

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Harbour plans updated

Proposals for the long-term development of Shoreham Harbour are being further developed.

The Shoreham Harbour Regeneration project is a joint initiative by local councils and the port authority. Large areas of the harbour are earmarked for extensive housing development and new commercial premises.

Details of the current consultation opportunities and latest updated proposals are available on this council website.

HISTORY: Joint Area Action Plan (JAAP) for harbour proposed in 2008 by Brighton, Adur and WSx councils and Port Auth. Development briefs published 2014, followed by various consultations (latest Jan 2017), technical studies etc. Publication of final JAAP submission expected 2017, followed by formal adoption 2017-2018.

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Local councils launch development website

Adur and Worthing Councils have launched a new website specifically to highlight development opportunities and proposals locally.

Aimed principally at developers and investors, the website contains information about existing and potential development sites throughout the Adur and Worthing areas

It also explains the councils' approach to meeting housing demand, attracting investment and encouraging business activity for economic generation.

The website is investaw.co.uk

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Cement works site remains uncertain

Different development projects for the old cement works site north of Shoreham have vied for support, but its future is still uncertain.

The Shoreham Society is keen to see a sensitive and imaginative use of the site which would not unduly impact on the local infrastructure

The South Downs National Park Authority will determine which type of development is allowed to go ahead.

HISTORY: Cement works built in 1883. Expanded and developed through 20th Century until operation ceased in 1991. Cement company abandoned site, leaving two main buildings to become derelict, hazardous eyesores. Rest of site used for vehicle storage, workshops, etc. Various site proposals have been floated since the closure - including latest ones awaiting decisions by South Downs National Park Authority.

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Railway subway campaign continues

Pressure is being maintained on Southern Railway and Network Rail to make the Shoreham station subway easily accessible from the street, allowing non-railway-users to cross when the gates are closed.

The Shoreham Society has been trying for over two years to explore options with the rail companies, and there has been increasing dismay at the lack of progress.

Many people have expressed frustration at long waiting times at the crossing when barriers are down and have supported the idea of making the subway freely accessible to the general public.

Street access to the subway has been blocked since ticket gates were installed at the station to deter railway fare-dodgers.

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Award for Shoreham Centre extension

The extension and refurbishment of the Shoreham Centre in Pond Road has been awarded one of the coveted Shoreham Society conservation plaques.

To encourage an enlightened approach to planning, conservation and building design, the Shoreham Society presents plaques to projects which are judged to enhance the local built environment. The Shoreham Centre is the latest recipient.

Details of the award scheme and the Shoreham Centre plaque presentation are on the award scheme page.

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Praise continues for bridge design despite damage

The design of the Adur Ferry Bridge between Shoreham Beach and the town centre is still being widely praised, despite problems of damage to the glass ballustrade.

West Sussex County Council, which is responsible for the bridge and its maintenance, says investigations are continuing into the problem of glass panels being shattered, either through vandalism or technical imperfections.

But public reaction to the bridge design has remained very positive, and the Shoreham Society has been applauded for influencing important design improvements.

When the bridge was being planned the society provided the council with local feedback about design features that residents said they wanted. This was based on a survey conducted by the society among residents.

People who responded to the survey put a high priority on visibility from the bridge, weather protection, and the general look of the bridge, and the society duly forwarded this information, which the council's design team took into account when finalising the design.

Some local comment has tried to blame the society for the glass problems because it favoured see-through weather protection for bridge users, but the society was simply reflecting the strong preferences expressed in the residents' survey.

Although it provided that information, the society is not responsible for the specifications of the materials used, the investigations into breakages or the plans for future maintenance or vandalism protection.

The bridge design has continued to win official plaudits as well as local praise. A recent accolade was a national "community benefit" award by the Institute of Civil Engineers.

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Southlands housing scheme proceeds

Building work is under way for a housing estate on the site of the unoccupied main block of Southlands Hospital in Shoreham.

After studying details of the site layout and building designs, Adur Council's planning committee gave final approval and work has now started at the site.

Developer Taylor Wimpey bought the building and surrounding land and was given planning permission to build 106 homes there, including a mix of flats and houses.

Approval for the hospital's sell-off for housing was subject to an undertaking to provide 30% affordable housing. Other conditions included financial contributions of around 571,000 towards local infrastructure.

The NHS trust originally invited organisations to put forward proposals for using the site for health-related purposes, but the timescale for such proposals passed with no suitable projects emerging.

All in-patient facilities were transferred to Worthing Hospital, with the NHS retaining only the out-patient building fronting Hammy Lane, which the trust promises to keep and improve.

The latest development for this remaining part of the hospital is a major eye unit offering diagnosis, treatments and operations.

The decision to sell the main block for housing disappointed campaigners who wanted it kept for community health purposes.

HISTORY: Hospital Trust got planning permission in 2014 to demolish old main block and release the site for housing, following decision to stop inpatient services and concentrate on specialist day services. Wimpey group bought site in 2015 and demolition/construction proceeded in 2016. Completion expected 2017.

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Parcelforce redevelopment progressing

Work on the controversial project to build flats and a supermarket at the former Parcelforce site in Brighton Road, Shoreham, is continuing.

Work first began on the site over a year ago but was paused by a technical licensing issue.  Then it re-started but stopped again, but has recently been progressing again.

Plans for 132 homes and a 1,200 sqm foodstore were approved in 2013 despite objections to the proposed building heights up to seven stories high.

The Shoreham Society was among a number of local groups and residents who formally objected to the application.

A chief concern is that the proposal represents over-development in an area already suffering from extreme pressure on infrastructure. There was particular opposition to the height of the development and the number of housing units.

A number of significant problems were recognised in the planning report which was considered by local councillors before their decision. Click here to see it.  The report referred to concerns about traffic, air pollution and other environmental issues, flood risk, sewage capacity and visual impact.

HISTORY: Planning consent approved in 2007 for a hotel, but that proposal didn't materialise. New application approved 2013 for current project of flats and retail. Construction delayed with stop-go activity. Completion expected 2017.

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Offshore wind farm construction progressing

Another phase of work is under way for the offshore wind farm being installed off the local coast. The turbine bases are in place eight miles (13km) offshore and the upper sections of the turbines are being added.

Work on land-based infrastructure is also progressing, including the laying of underground cabling following a route through mostly agricultural land to the north of Shoreham. The entire 1.3bn project is due for completion in 2018.

After consultations, the project was scaled down last year to reduce the visual impact. The number of turbines was reduced from 175 to 116 and their height is down from 200m to 140m. The width of the wind farm as seen from the shore is also considerably reduced. The farm will provide enough power for 300,000 homes.

The revisions followed representations made by environmental groups who were concerned about the seascape, particularly the views from the South Downs national park.

A platform containing meteorological and other equipment has been visible for some time south of Shoreham Harbour, a large crane vessel is prominent on the horizen and now some of the turbine bases can be seen.

More information is on the website www.eon-uk.com/rampion

HISTORY: Development consent for wind farm issued in 2014. Land-based infrastructure work carried out through 2015 and 2016. Offshore work undertaken from Jan 2016. Completion expected 2018.

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Pond Road prospects under review

The Shoreham Society is monitoring discussions - or lack of them - about redeveloping the Pond Road area in Shoreham.

Adur Council issued a brief long ago for the redevelopment of this key central area, envisaging retaining the existing community centre (now extended with council offices), building new public facilities including a health centre on the Burrscroft site, and replacing the existing health centre and library with housing.

Apart from the community centre, those proposals were mothballed because of the economic climate, but the prospect of redeveloping the area has occasionally been revisited.

Shoreham Society challenged the initial proposals on several grounds, including doubtful economic viability, poor use of space and inappropriate overall concept.

The society believes that any development should be in keeping with the site's position at the heart of the conservation area and adjacent to the heritage asset of St Mary's Church.

Remodelling of existing buildings is also strongly preferred by the society rather than demolition - principally because recovering the higher costs of rebuilding could result in excessively dense or high-rise development.

Society experts are monitoring the situation and seeking involvement in any new consultations.

HISTORY: Plans outlined in 2007 for new health centre and town square development. Put on hold after 2008 financial crisis. Still no firm proposals.

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