One of the biggest proposed residential and commercial property schemes on the Sussex coast in decades was scrutinised at the latest meeting of the Sussex Property Alliance (SPA).
If given the go-ahead, the New Monks Farm development in Lancing would create 600 homes, a school, a 28 hectare country park and a 35,000 sq m flagship IKEA store. Over 40 SPA members also heard details of separate plans to build 25,000 sqm of employment space at the adjacent Brighton City Airport.
Speaking at the event, held at the Airport, James Appleton, Head of Planning and Development at Adur and Worthing Councils, said the New Monks Farm application was likely to be determined in the first few months of next year. He said that aside from the numerous environmental, heritage and highways objections to be taken into account, overall scheme viability was a key issue and the applicants claim that the delivery of the development was heavily reliant upon the proposed IKEA store had to be tested.
Considerable concerns had been raised by the local community about additional congestion on the A27 as a result of the IKEA store but Mr Appleton stressed that the application was not expected to deal with the wider A27 problems but had to demonstrate that it would mitigate the impact of the additional development traffic on the trunk road.
"In looking at how we meet future employment and housing needs the shortage of land in Adur meant that development had to be considered on greenfield land at New Monks Farm and the Airport. The Local Plan Inspector's report had recently been received and the Inspector found the Council's overall strategy to be 'sound' providing an appropriate balance between meeting housing and employment needs with protecting the local environment.
Mr Appleton said that,
"The two planning applications were promoting more development than envisaged by the Local Plan and had provoked considerable opposition. The local planning authority will have to weigh up the benefits of the schemes in terms of new homes, jobs and economic development with the impact on the local environment, heritage and local infrastructure. The applications are hugely complex"
In terms of the recent A27 consultation, the Councils of Adur and Worthing had objected on the basis that the Government had not provided sufficient funding to Highways England to come up with a genuine consultation exercise. Mr Appleton advised that the local Councils, MPs, and businesses had all asked the government to look for a more radical solution to ease congestion, improve journey times and improve air quality. It was hoped that the Government would listen and recent positive statements from the Transport Minister indicates that this is the case.
The Sussex Property Alliance provides a forum where property professionals get together, exchange ideas, and build relationships. It is supported by Sussex-based MHA Carpenter Box chartered accountants, Bennett Griffin solicitors and Michael Jones commercial real estate agents.
Looking towards New Monks Farm, our photo shows (l-r) Stephen Hollamby (Bennett Griffin), Robert Dowling (MHA Carpenter Box), James Appleton (Adur and Worthing Councils), and Steve Berrett (Michael Jones).