Since 2001, Ferring Conservation Group has opposed every planning application for additional houses in Ferring. So why are we supporting a Neighbourhood Plan that promises more house building?
It’s because Arun District Council’s new Local Plan calls for 50 additional dwellings in Ferring over the next 15 years and there is simply no way the village can escape that requirement. What matters now is what sort of dwellings and where they will be built. If there is no Neighbourhood Plan to set out what our residents want, the decision will be left to the developers, Arun’s Development Control Committee and the Planning Inspectors.
This Neighbourhood Plan keeps the development within the existing built-up area. Half the housing will be developed by the community and for the community on sites in the village centre, catering for residents who want to ‘downsize’ but stay in the village. The other half will come from planning applications in the normal way (and the Plan points to the builders’ merchants and vehicle workshop off Ferringham Lane as one site that could be redeveloped to accommodate them all). The Plan rules out any development behind Green Park or on the Goring Gap in south Ferring.
The really good thing about the Plan is that it also provides the basis for a new Village Hall and Community Centre, and a bigger and better allotment site. The new Hall would come about by rebuilding the Glebelands Centre on a larger scale and negotiations are under way for a new allotment area. Once these new facilities are up and running, the existing Village Hall and allotments sites will be the sites for the ‘downsize’ housing and the money that comes from this housing will fund the two new projects.
We all like the old Village Hall of course, but it is an old building with many problems. When it was built in 1924 it was never expected to last 100 years. It needs replacing. At the same time, we have to cope with a demand for more housing sites, and we know there is a need for smaller houses for people who want to stay in the village. This Plan deals with both issues.
So the threat of unsuitable development has been turned into an opportunity and it is an opportunity that we should grab – by voting ‘Yes’ in the Referendum on 10 December; ‘Yes’ to the Neighbourhood Plan and ‘Yes’ to the three ‘Community Right to Build Orders’ for the new Community Centre at Glebelands and the two small housing sites in the village centre.
Ferring Conservation Group