Latest situation on Arun Local Plan

This post requires a full update as it has been superceded by developments such as the present Suspension of the Local Plan by the Inspector. We are now awaiting the results of the Public Consultation by Arun DC, and the resumption date of the next and final stage of the EiP.

The latest OAN given by the Inspector is 919 houses per annum which the VAG believes is a ridiculous house build rate for our region for multiple reasons.


The following info is now OUT of DATE. – – – – – – – –

It has been quite a while (August / September 2015) since I have written any updates on the Arun Local Plan situation. The reason has been that not very much has been happening except for the summary that follows.  At that time the Inspector had asked for Arun to re-consider its whole strategy of where to put the required houses and not to pre-determine anything.  Crucial in deciding the extent of any Local Plan and how much land will be required for future development is a number called the OAN (Objectively Assessed Housing Number ) which is an estimate for the supposed number of houses required to be built in a district depending on market and census led estimates. Arun DC had asked GL Hearn, a firm of Specialist Consultants to give them an up to date figure. The figure they came up with was 758 Houses per annum, which VAG considers is far too large a number. One important point to note is the word “Objective” which refers to the idea that the number does not allow for any obvious local constraints such as flooding.

The Inspector sent out a letter to interested parties to comment on the Arun OAN figure.

VAG commissioned  a consultant to prepare our own report in order to present our own opinion on this OAN number to the Inspector together with the other parties.  This was duly done at a Hearing in January where the Inspector cross-examined the parties presenting their OAN estimates. After this meeting the Inspector went away to ponder the various submissions and then decide what he considered should be the correct OAN for the Arun District.

The submitted OANs ranged from the very low 300’s to over 900 houses per annum.  The figure that the VAG Consultant advised was 571 hpa and the Report is to be found here:-   Representation OAN_for VAG, Arun-1

Having considered all the evidence, the Inspector has now concluded this very important phase with his own report summarising his arguments for choosing and recommending an OAN. His Letter to Mr Karl Roberts, The Director for Regeneration, is here:-

IDED18 OAN Conclusions

As you will see the figure he has chosen is shockingly high at 845 houses per annum.  The VAG has not yet decided how to respond to this result.  It is not very clear from the Inspector’s letter whether he will accept some reduction in this figure due to local constraints. We will check this point in due course.  We are fairly happy with the figure given by our own consultant as it appears to us more reasonable than the Inspector’s own figure.

Unfortunately, if the 845 hpa figure is converted to actual houses then there will need to be quite massive housing development in our district, which to many of us sounds completely impractical given the huge local problems we suffer with poor road infrastructure, very poor employment prospects and a serious flood risk.

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6 Responses to Latest situation on Arun Local Plan

  1. Tony says:

    No mention of Fontwell and the ‘call-in’ ?

    • VAG says:

      That could well be the subject of a later post. The Call-In has just happened and the response from the Parish Councils concerned is still forming. The fact that a Call-In has occurred shows that Arun DC may have not considered the full implications of approving a planning application which conflicts with the Eastergate and Barnham Neighbourhood Development Plan.

  2. Louise Beaton says:

    Set up to fail: why housing targets based on flawed numbers threaten our countryside is an excellent new CPRE report that explains why the Government guidance on which an OAN is based is fundamentally wrong. An example is that the context of an ageing population needing to downsize is not taken into account, which – especially for Arun – means the demand for “family” housing is inflated. Pressure is now needed to ensure that these points and the constraints that apply in Arun are properly brought to bear by the Inspector in producing the unconstrained number.

  3. VAG says:

    Well said! VAG agrees completely with your comments on this topic. We did send to the Inspector a copy of the CPRE Report, but sadly he does not appear to have taken much notice of it so far.

  4. David C Bland says:

    No mention that for the second year running the sewage has broken down, Fontwell Avenue is grid locked during parts of the day and the A27 becomes grid locked most of the day. We have not as yet the full infrastructure to deal with any more housing. It is the infrastructure which should be addressed first.before any further housing development is even considered. It is only us who live in the area who know the existing problems and not those emanating from the city or even Arun District Council.

  5. VAG says:

    Your points about lack of basic infrastructure have been made multiple times by many residents and the VAG to Arun District Council and others. The idea of having a moratorium on new house building until all the sewerage and flooding problems are sorted out has been proposed by our local MP, Mr Nick Herbert among others. It does seem to be the obvious way to proceed. We await the response from ADC and Central Government.

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