AGM - live event plus online stream

The Shoreham Society's 2021 AGM on June 22nd took place both as a live event at the Ropetackle Arts Centre and via an online stream on YouTube.

As well as the usual AGM business, including a review of the past year and a look at exciting plans for the future, there was a talk on the innovative design of the new Shoreham Yacht Club.

There was also a presentation and preview of the society's new website which will be going live very soon, replacing this one.

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Meads Park controversy takes a new turn

A new row has broken out over plans for the Meads Park recreation space off Victoria Road, Shoreham, which is leased to Swiss Gardens Primary School but is in poor condition.

Local residents who have been campaigning against a proposal to re-lay the site with an artificial surface and place further restrictions on its public use are accusing Adur Council of suppressing the outcome of a recent public consultation.

The campaigners, who want to see the existing grass surface kept and maintained, believe the consultation revealed very strong local opposition to an artificial surface. They suspect the council is not acknowledging this because it would make it harder to pursue the proposed artificial replacement.

Campaigner Tim Holter said the council's position was particularly ironic in view of its publicity about going green and pursuing carbon-neutral initiatives.

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Railway subway campaign stepped up

The Shoreham Society is renewing pressure 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.

In a damning report published by the Society, committee member Adrian Towler accuses the rail companies of treating the people of Shoreham "very shabbily".

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.

Direct access to the subway from the street was removed in 1987. Since then countless 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 again.

According to the Society's report, it could be easily achieved if only the rail companies co-operated.

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"Over the wall" drainage project extended

New rainfall drainage techniques are being explored for proposed developments in Brighton Road and Shoreham Harbour to reduce the risk of local flooding.

An initiative by a partnership of local councils, coastal flood bodies, the port authority, developers and environmental experts aims to reduce the overloading of sewers and underground drainage courses. Research which began last year is being extended because flood risks are increasing with climate change and coastal development plans.

The project is exploring the feasibility, design challenges and potential benefits of directing rooftop rainfall drainage from waterfront developments over the sea wall rather than down through the underground drainage networks.

A County Council statement said: "The geography of the coastline of West Sussex presents significant challenges for managing storm run-off following heavy rainfall. As a result of this project we hope to reduce the risk of surface water flooding for coastal communities in Shoreham."

More details and links to background information papers are given in a WSCC information webpage.

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New objections to New Monks Farm A27 plans

New objections have been raised to road proposals for the controversial New Monks Farm development next to Shoreham Airport.

As site work continues for the development of 600 homes and an IKEA store, a major re-think is being urged for the proposed new roundabout on the A27 and its link to Coombes Road.

Fresh objections have been raised by the South Downs National Park Authority and Bramber Parish Council, who both fear that the new access to Coombes Road will dramatically affect this narrow country lane and have serious negative effects on the usage, environment and landscape of the National Park.

The Park Authority claims that the proposal fails to meet important and legally-required conditions for roads in the South Downs area, and that proposals by the developers to limit the harmful effects are misplaced and inadequate. In its holding objection, the Authority gives a detailed list of how the roads proposal should be changed.

And in its own objection statement, the parish council outlines its concerns.

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Port project will produce hydrogen for fuel cells

A project at Shoreham Habour will create a 'green hydrogen hub' in the form of a 20-megawatt electrolysis plant producing hydrogen for vehicle fuel cells.

A planning application is being prepared by the Port Authority for the plant to be built south of the lock gates. If approved it is expected to be operational in 2024.

The hydrogen produced at Shoreham will be fully certified as green as it will be produced from certified green energy plus captive renewable energy sources available within the port.

A spokesman said the production process is almost silent, produces no waste and emits no pollutants. The produced hydrogen will supply operators of fuel cell electric vehicles including buses, HGVs and waste collection vehicles, as well as marine vessels and the port's own cranes and forklift trucks.

The project is being developed in partnership with specialists H2evolution and using pioneering work into hydrogen fuel at Ricardo's Shoreham Technical Centre.

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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.

Download the survey report

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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.

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Council's social housing plan progressing

Adur council's plan for providing the first new first council housing in more than 30 years is progressing, with the first project well under way in Ravens Road, Shoreham.

Under the trading name Adur Homes, the council is redeveloping 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, energy-efficient 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 being provided 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 limit daylight to their homes and infringe their privacy.

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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 proposals by the developers who bought it include 171 homes, with 30 per cent of them classed as affordable - a big reduction in the 'affordable' proportion originally specified in the sale.

Campaigners had wanted the site to remain in public ownership to give the council maximum control of its usage with a much stronger emphasis on social rentals, but the council decided this was beyond its resources and agreed to sell the 1.5 acre site to the Hyde Housing 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 - up to 11 storeys - would be greatly out of proportion for the area.

Civic Centre site proposals

The development will also include what is described as "flexible commercial floorspace", with space for 48 shops.

Space for 172 cycles is proposed, but only 56 vehicle spaces for the entire site.

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 drew 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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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.

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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.

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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."

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.

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