Ikea: council stalemate over Lancing plans is ‘disappointing’

From The Argus

CONTROVERSIAL plans to build an Ikea store and 600 homes were locked in stalemate last night.

Hundreds of residents packed into a public meeting in Lancing in July – a year and a half after the plans were announced.

But councillors voted to defer the decision until a later date on the grounds that developers were unable to prove the project would enhance the environment.

And the committee required developers to meet with Lancing College to discuss how its proposal would not negatively impact the school.

The applicant, Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club, submitted the application for New Monks Farm last July.

Martin Perry, executive director of the club, said: “It was disappointing that it had to be deferred but I am still optimistic.

“Frankly the requirements from the council are minor and we will go back and discuss with Ikea on what mitigation they can provide in the next meeting.”

Tim Farlam, real estate manager for Ikea UK and Ireland, said: “We are disappointed with the decision as the proposal met all national and local planning guidelines and we regularly held discussions with the local community to ensure the final store design met the needs of both Ikea and the surrounding community.”

The developers have been asked to provide a more detailed plan to meet the committee’s requirements.

The proposals also include the provision of a new roundabout on the A27, a country park, community hub and the relocation and expansion of the Wilthy Patch Gypsy and Traveller site.

Mark Williams, from Lancing College, said the developments would have a major impact on the school.

He said: “Our college has more than 500 pupils. The traffic for Ikea will be very intense and it will affect parents’ journey time and travel to the school.

“Our school provides an important service to the community. We provide a swimming pool and chapel, and we offer bursaries for parents.

“If parents find it difficult to get to our school, they will go elsewhere.”

Gerard Rosenberg, chairman of the Shoreham Society, said: “We are working closely with other environmental and residents associations as we are concerned about the amount of pollution the new developments would bring.

“This will not affect Shoreham, but it’s a regional issue. More and more cars are already travelling on the A27. The proposals say it will bring up to two million traffic movements per year.”

Labour Councillor David Balfe, representing Eastbrook, said: “The A27 is already over capacity, along with the constant delays in the evenings.

“Additionally, extra homes will bring more cars. Are these reasons not enough for the council to reject the application?”

However, supporters of the application say bringing an international company to Lancing will boost the town’s profile. Conservative councillor Brian Boggis, representing Peverel, said: “I understand everyone’s worries. We need to look at the bigger picture and look at the benefits it will bring to our town.”

The committee has not confirmed the date for the next meeting.

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