I do not want these comments to be seen as a totally negative response to the New Monks Farm Development Brief.
I see the site as being slap right bang in the middle of the Adur District and not as an outside of town development area, and at the head of the Adur Valley and therefore an important site where not just anything should be built.
I attended the public meeting in Lancing, where I asked a few questions which were not satisfactorily answered.
My main questions were:
1) What was the amount of spoil that was proposed to be dumped on
2) What type of spoil was proposed to be dumped on the site?
Until these questions are asked, it is not possible to make any constructive comments.
This in turn leads on to some further questions:
3) How would the amount and the type of spoil be controlled?
4) What sanctions and legal liability would be implemented if unauthorised or illegal dumping occurred?
5) Would the land be suitable for converting to agricultural use after the dumping of spoil? (should the planned Golf Course become uneconomic).
In short time allowed to complete the questionnaire I have not been able to do more than just elementary research.
It does seem that at the present time that both the Dept. of Trade & Industry and the Farmers Union feel that all the controls over waste disposal sites, even for recreational purposes are seriously inadequate.
The present form of the Development Brief is certainly inadequate and does not contain nearly enough information for it to be passed even conditionally. This is the important bit. I do not think it should be passed subject to the developers providing assurances over the environmental concerns I have expressed.
I think that before that the Development Brief should even be considered until a full and thorough Environmental Impact Assessment has been prepared. I do not mean just a list of plant species and fauna. What I would expect for such an important site would be at least comparable with the plan for Southwick Beach, with the results open for public inspection and comment.
I think this would be preferable to a Public Enquiry in the first instance, and only if the results of such a consultation revealed such public concern should a Public Enquiry be justified.
The Environmental Impact Assessment would, of course, include soil analysis and drainage considerations in relation to neighbouring properties.
Already, further questions arise:
6) Would inert spoil improve the land as an asset, as impermeable
spoil would do nothing to improve the drainage and is likely to become
a nuisance if the land was to be put to another use?
7) Consideration should also be put for the short term use or misuse if the landscape is proposed to be altered substantially.
I am sure I have forgotten something in my haste to draw up this letter before the deadline of 17 November 2000.
e.g. technical details of how to get the top soil up from underneath the spoil, or importing in some more top soil to cover the spoil dumped.
My conclusion is that the Golf Course idea is not a practical proposition and that a better plan should be thought up. The Development Brief for a Golf Course should be rejected outright as well as the Planning Application.
Other aspects in the Questionnaire that dwarf in comparison compared to the above concerns
Multi-user Path (Human-powered cycles and ramblers).
This is such a good idea that it should be regarded as a Planning Gain.
Cycling on the arterial routes on the A27 and A259 is now so dangerous,
that it is not a practical proposition. The route would allow cyclists
to miss the roundabout at Lancing Manor and be able to travel from Shoreham
to Worthing in comparative safety. It would be a good idea of the route
could connect up with Cecil Pashley way, the airport road.
I do not like the traffic lights pencilled in.
Public Open Green Space
Despite objections, I think this would also enjoy popular support. Despite, the poor drainage, my discussions with a grass expert (I do not pretend to know much about this) seemed to point in the direction of this being such superior alluvium that the designated space may actually be good enough for a cricket pitch.
Some Planning Strategy
This land has been provisionally allocated as a Strategic Gap. I do not think this allocation serves any useful purpose.
The White Unallocated Space
There is an allocation of a ploughed field without any plans in the Development Brief. I would not be surprised if somebody has thought about this as much needed housing land. I am neutral on this, except to say, that any housing should be at comparable densities with neighbouring housing (not pocket handkerchief gardens). Still, the land is probably better agricultural land than the Downs.
This is meant to be helpful, rather than a treatise of objections.
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