Survey shows: "We love Shoreham, but ..."

Most Shoreham residents love the town and strongly feel part of the community, according to an open survey by the Shoreham Society. But some residents, particularly new ones and minorities, do not share that sense of belonging, and the Society's committee is exploring ways to make them feel more welcome.

The widely-publicised survey attracted 668 responses from throughout the town, with 2,700 individual comments about what people like - and don't like - about living in Shoreham.

Although most residents indicated a generally high level of satisfaction, several recurring concerns emerged, which the Shoreham Society says it will use to set future priorities and activities.

Among the main concerns raised were:
  > Traffic problems
  > Environmental issues, including pollution
  > Lack of influence over planning decisions.

Many respondents also felt the town's commercial centre needs an uplift with a better range of shops, improved access and a more welcoming physical environment.

Click here for the survey report (pdf file).

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Cycle lanes going but may be replaced

The controversial pop-up cycle lanes in Upper Shoreham Road, Shoreham, are being removed - but may be replaced later by a different and permanent cycle route across the town.

Roger Elkins, the county council's Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, decided the existing pop-up lanes must go, despite never having personally inspected the scheme and despite being asked to reconsider the matter by the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee.

A statement from the council says that because the lanes received a lot of support and brought a significant increase in cycling, officers are exploring the possibility of a different, permanent cycleway scheme in Shoreham. However, pro-cycling campaigners and environmentalists have expressed doubt that this is realistic in view of the rapid back-down over the Upper Shoreham Road scheme when residents and motorists objected.

While residents opposed to the pop-up lanes have welcomed the decision to remove them, it has disappointed the many who saw their introduction as an important initiative to encourage more sustainable transport and reduce traffic congestion and pollution.

In the meantime the national charity Cycling UK has expressed alarm at Cllr Elkins' decision and is exploring legal action to challenge it. The charity says there was inadequate evaluation of the benefits of the cycle lanes and insufficient time to properly assess them. A spokesman said: "Evaluation of such a scheme should not be on the basis of who shouts loudest."

In the Shoreham Society 2020 survey earlier this year, a large majority of the 668 respondents felt there were not enough safe local cycling routes. It seems many people think they are a good idea in principle - as long as they are somewhere else.

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Controversial Brighton Road flats plan approved

A controversial planning application for the Kingston Wharf site in Brighton Road, Shoreham, which was deferred for design modifications, has been approved. The proposal is for 255 flats in three blocks from four to eight storeys, plus a mixed-use business centre.

There were strong representations by the Shoreham Society, Adur Green Party and the Liberal Democrats for a re-think going beyond just the look of the buildings - they pressed for changes to make the development more carbon neutral, more environmentally sustainable and less likely to cause undue strain on the local infrastructure.

It was also pointed out that eight storeys exceeds the five-storey guideline of the official Shoreham Harbour regeneration plan.

The Shoreham Society's written submission can be viewed by downloading this pdf document.

Kingston Wharf

Adur Council's planning committee had a long debate but finally decided (by the chairperson's casting vote) to allow the development. Details of the planning application are available on this council website, quoting ref AWDM/0204/20.

Other controversial plans for major developments along Brighton Road include those at the Howard Kent site west of the lifeboat station; the New Wharf site opposite Halfords, where proposals are for 100 flats up to 20 storeys high; and Free Wharf, the former Minelco site, with buildings up to eight storeys and a total of 540 new homes.(artist's impression below).

Free Wharf impression

HISTORY: Brighton Road sites earmarked for redevelopment in 2012 and included in the Adur Local Plan and the Shoreham Harbour Joint Action Plan. Local residents and organisations have consistently raised concerns about building heights and strain on local infrastructure. Free Wharf planning application approved January 2018, with minor changes applied for in December 2020. Kingston Wharf application submitted in February 2020 and revised in June.

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Concerns remain over Civic Centre site plans

Concerns remain over redevelopment plans for the controversial former Civic Centre site in Ham Road, Shoreham. Latest public consultation by the developers, who have indicated that up to 200 homes will be built including a mix of social rented homes and shared-ownership properties, have not reassured campaigners who have been objecting to the height of the proposed development and the apparent lack of parking places there.

Local group Adur Residents Environment Action (AREA) have described the proposal as likely to cause a traffic and parking "meltdown" in the town. They also say the proposed height - 10 storeys indicated by drawings or up to 12 mentioned in other information from the developers - would be greatly out of proportion for the area.

Civic Centre site proposals

Campaigners had also wanted the site to remain in public ownership to give the council maximum control of its usage with an even stronger emphasis on social rentals, but the council decided this was beyond its resources and agreed to sell the 1.5 acre site, saying it would still be used substantially for affordable housing. The agreed sale, to the Hyde Housing group, was on the basis of 40 per cent of the homes being for social rental and the rest for shared ownership.

The development will also include what is described as "flexible commercial floorspace".

Meanwhile a new office block on the northern side of Ham Road, where the former Civic Centre car park was, is already suffering from parking overload.

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. The old building was demolished and the site cleared in 2018.

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Council rubber-stamps IKEA and 600 homes

Adur Council's controversial decision to allow an IKEA store and 600 homes in the New Monks Farm area on the western edge of Shoreham Airport has been rubber-stamped following completion of planning formalities, and work is under way preparing the site.

The proposals have drawn widespread opposition including from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the South Downs National Park Authority, Friends of the Earth and Sussex Wildlife Trust. Their objections were based on multiple issues including air pollution, traffic congestion, flood risk, utility capacity and environmental damage.

Ironically one of the formal processes which had to be completed before the planning approval was confirmed was the completion of an environmental impact study, which has clearly dismissed the environmental concerns raised by experts from the above organisations.

As well as the extensive housing (allowed for in the Adur Local Plan despite concerns about the impact on local infrastructure), the proposals include a new primary school, business and commercial premises in addition to the IKEA store, plus a 24-hectare country park which was added in response to concerns over loss of open space.

Development proposals

A separate proposal for the north-east corner of Shoreham Airport was also approved by the council despite similarly strong opposition. It is for buildings 25,000 square metres in area and 14 metres high, to be used for "storage and distribution". The usage description caused alarm that it could have a major impact with high volumes of lorry and delivery van traffic.

With the A27 and A259 already suffering heavy congestion and frequent gridlock, and local air pollution levels already dangerously high, both of these development proposals have inevitably caused deep concerns.

News of the closure of IKEA's Coventry store and a reported shift by them towards smaller city-centre stores, there has been some speculation that the company might pull out of New Monks Farm, but even if they did, the planning consent would remain for other non-food retailers to step in.

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Flooding fears cited in campaign against new town

A proposed new town of up to 10,000 homes in mid-Sussex could cause flooding problems for the Shoreham area, say campaigners.

The siting of such huge housing development in the countryside near Henfield is being fiercely opposed by residents of that area, but their campaign is being supported by many Shoreham residents who fear that resultant flooding downstream through the Adur valley could overwhelm the town's new flood defences.

Developers want to build what they are calling Mayfield Market Town on open land in the parishes of Henfield, Shermanbury and Woodmancote - low-lying land within the Adur valley. They say the flooding fears are unfounded and that modern flood management measures will actually reduce rather than increase the run-off into the River Adur.

Despite being deemed "unsustainable" by a Government Planning Inspector in a 2018 inquiry, and being excluded from the Mid-Sussex Plan, the proposal has still not been ruled out. The local planning authority, Horsham District Council, is preparing a public consultation exercise about future development sites, and campaigners are pressing for Mayfield to be excluded from the final options.

The main campaigning group, Lambs (Locals against Mayfield building sprawl), is hoping public pressure will finally see off the proposal, and their Lambs website (click here) gives all the background information and advice on how to express views.

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Green issues 'shape future Adur planning'

Despite widespread concerns over traffic congestion and air pollution, environmental and climate issues are claimed to be increasingly shaping local thinking on planning and infrastructure.

1. A draft local cycling and walking infrastructure plan drawn up by Adur and Worthing Councils and is being finalised to take into account public feedback.

The environmentally-driven strategic plan proposes a range of measures including improved cycling and pedestrian facilities and tighter management of motorised vehicle access through the area.

The aim is to double cycling levels by 2025, significantly reduce accidents involving cyclists, and encourage a big increase in children walking to school. Comments received during a display at the Shoreham Centre and via an online form are being reviewed and will influence the final details.

2. Another important environmental initiative is Adur Council's adoption of planning guidelines on sustainable energy. The document outlines requirements for developers to show that any proposals will meet modern energy management expectations.

To gain planning consent they will need to show they have assessed energy demand and have strategies in place to reduce it, with an emphasis on "delivering clean, smart, sustainable, development." The policy can be viewed online at this council website.

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More concerns over Beach Green cafe proposals

Controversy continues over development proposals for the site which includes the old toilet block on Beach Green, Shoreham Beach.

There were angry protests when Adur Councillors approved the plans for a 3-storey cafe and leisure block, and now local residents are demanding more information about reports that the project is being delayed.

The approved plans are by a company associated with high-profile DJ Fatboy Slim. The company proposes a multi-function community hub on similar lines to successful ventures at Shoreditch and Croydon and incorporating a cafe such as Fatboy Slim's Big Beach Cafe at Hove Lagoon.

Beach Green proposal

Their Shoreham Beach concept includes a roof terrace, a split-level cafe, public toilets and community space for up to 90 people.

While most residents have welcomed the prospect of the old toilet block being redeveloped, many object to the scale of the new proposal, saying it is out of proportion for the area and will create noise and traffic problems.

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, but planning application delayed. Application finally submitted July 2019, and approved on October 7th.

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Society steps up trees initiative

The Shoreham Society is stepping up its campaign to make the town greener and more attractive.

"Adur Arbor" is an extension of an idea from Rosslyn Road residents who planted nine new young trees in their road. The Shoreham Society thinks this could also be done in other parts of the town and district, and is encouraging groups of residents to follow the Rosslyn Road example.

The society has produced a leaflet describing the benefits and explaining how to go about it.

Click here for the leaflet. (pdf download)

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Plans approved for Mannings redevelopment

Proposals for redeveloping The Mannings on the corner of Ham Road and Surry Street have been approved. Designs were shown at a public exhibition, and Adur Council has granted planning consent.

The owners, Southern Housing Group (SHG), will demolish the existing four-storey social housing block and replace it with a new one of up to six storeys, containing 74 homes - some for social rent and some for shared ownership (artist's impression below). Proposed Mannings redevelopment

Existing residents of The Mannings are to be offered alternative accommodation and will then be invited to return if they wish after the two-year building project.

More details are on the SHG website on the Mannings (click here).

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Council's social housing plan approved despite parking worries

Adur council has approved its plan for the first council housing to be proposed for the district in more than 30 years, despite concerns over lack of parking.

Under the trading name Adur Homes, the council is proposing to redevelop the run-down Cecil Norris House in Ravens Road, Shoreham, to provide 15 homes to be available at discounted rents for people on the local housing register.

It is intended to be the start of a continuing programme to address the serious shortfall in local social housing.

At a public consultation session Adur Homes said this was the first of a number of projects aimed at creating well-designed, sustainable homes on council-owned land. They have several sites earmarked across the district and Ravens Road is the first such site.

Although the general idea of council-provided affordable housing is widely supported, the detail of what is proposed has been criticised, with particular surprise that the Ravens Road proposal does not include any car parking except two bays for disabled drivers.

Local residents close to the site also objected to the design and layout of the proposal, which they say will severely limit daylight to their homes and infringe their privacy.

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Pond Road prospects revived with new study

Long-awaited redevelopment of the Pond Road area in Shoreham may have moved a step closer, with a new feasibility study under way and potential funding earmarked.

The Shoreham Society has monitored discussions - or lack of them - ever since Adur Council issued a brief more than 10 years ago for the redevelopment of this key central area.

The planning brief envisaged retaining the existing community centre (since extended with council offices), building new public facilities including a health centre and community hub on the Burrscroft care home 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 West Sussex County Council, which owns the Burrscroft site, has revived hopes for the area by proposing the use of capital funding which it believes may be available from a Government investment scheme.

A detailed feasibility study is under way and the council says it is on schedule for publication in January. Officers have obtained quotes for the demolition of Burrscroft, which they see as the project's first phase.

The Shoreham Society has always favoured creative redevelopment of the area but challenged the initial proposals on grounds including 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 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. Burrscroft closed in 2008. Redevelopment plans put on hold after 2008 financial crisis. Publication of new feasibility study expected.

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Alarm grows over traffic and pollution

Deepening concerns are being voiced over relentless local increases in traffic congestion and its resultant air pollution.

A local environmental group supported by the Shoreham Society is calling for urgent action and planning strategies to improve Shoreham's air quality. With pollution soaring from increased traffic as more local housing is built, Adur Residents Environmental Action (AREA) has said Adur Council must hold developers to account in terms of their duty to mitigate environmental harm when building new housing developments.

In the meantime a Shoreham Area Sustainable Transport Study is continuing to explore how to achieve smarter traffic and transport management as the local population increases. The study is focusing on improving cycle and pedestrian facilities, encouraging best use of roads and achieving sustainable transport infrastructure.

The Shoreham Society and AREA attended the latest meeting of the Shoreham Area Sustainable Transport Study and pressed for greater emphasis on environmental considerations in transport planning.

An increasing view is that trying to accommodate more traffic by building new roads, improving junctions and changing traffic flows are mis-directed when a far more creative and wide-ranging approach is required, with much smarter solutions such as integrated transport systems and strategies for social change to reduce vehicle usage.

More information about the campaign group AREA is available on their website (click here).

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Affordable housing minimum urged

The Shoreham Society has called 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 to either reduce the affordable quota or increase the overall density by packing more units into the site.

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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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.

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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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.

As a stopgap measure to ease the problem, the Shoreham Society erected posters advising pedestrians that they can ask station staff to let them through to use the subway, and the staff have co-operated with this, but the society is pursuing the longer-term and more satisfactory solution of re-opening permanent access to the subway from the street.

Direct access to the subway from the street was removed in 1987.

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