AREA Supporters Newsletter, October 13, 2019

Dear Supporters,

Don’t panic yet about the report in the Herald this week about IKEA! There follows a detailed explanation of the situation so I urge you to persevere and read it through.

You’ll have seen articles in the various editions of the Herald during the past two weeks claiming that the New Monks Farm/IKEA site will commence by year end. This is inaccurate. It has taken information from a Council briefing paper which does not provide up to date, full facts on this development.

This week’s article in the Worthing edition is attached.

The Adur Worthing Joint Strategic Cttee met last Tuesday to approve the drawing down of £15.7M for public infrastructure from the successful bid in 2017 for Govt funds (Local Growth Fund). £10m is for tidal defences on the Free Wharf development  in Shoreham which is now proceeding and £5.7m for the proposed NMF roundabout on the A27.

The briefing paper for this cttee stated for NMF that the legal agreements with the developer (to fund monies for education (£3.2m) and the site ‘swap’ for the Withy Community) would be finalised ‘in a few weeks or so with development starting by year end’.

In reality, the developer has been refusing to agree to the £3.2M and County have even been pursuing a viability assessment on the proposed development. Also there are ownership issues on some of the land involved with the Withy Site which have to be resolved. This was not covered by the briefing paper.

The negotiation on this is not finalised and has been continuing  between the developer and the County Council for many months now.

Without these financial agreements (S106s) which have to be legally signed up by all parties, Adur DC cannot give final approval to develop the site.

The group of Labour Councillors at County had submitted a motion to the full County Council to debate these matters in July. The motion was approved and the debate was to be held at the next Full Council meeting on the 18th Oct, next week.

This Wednesday, County announced that this motion is not now on the agenda next week. This is to permit time for further consideration before the debate. It is expected to be tabled on the agenda of the next meeting..

So, it is obvious that agreement on these S106 sums/issues still appears not to have been determined. If the debate is on the agenda for the next Full Council meeting, that will not be until the 13th December.

So, there is no way work can proceed on the site by year end as the Herald claims. There isn’t time to finalise the legalities even if there were to be agreement between the County and the developer by 13th December.

The Herald is obviously not up to speed with how things are developing with County on the S106 agreements. AREA has written to the reporter to ask him to print a correction to his article which had been written from facts in  the Adur Strategic Cttee’s briefing paper where even the council did not reflect the up to date situation.

So, NMF approval is still not there yet. Meanwhile, let’s all hope and pray IKEA decides to pull out like they did in Cuerdon, Lancashire in May 2018. See link:-    https://www.lep.co.uk/business/ikea-pulls-out-of-cuerden-site-1-9169904

We have also heard from someone who visited Croydon IKEA that they are laying off staff there. Another source has commented that the Lancing IKEA is not listed in their building plans within the next 2 years. We have not verified the truth of these statements but they do give us a bigger grain of  hope.

IF YOU PLAN TO COME TO OUR OPEN MEETING ON NOVEMBER 8 AT 7PM IN THE COOP COMMUNITY SPACE WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST REPLY YES WITH THE NUMBERS OF PEOPLE ATTENDING.  WE WANT TO BE SURE WE HAVE BOOKED A LARGE ENOUGH SPACE! We are ever the optimists.

AND YES, THE AIR MONITORS WILL BE DEMONSTRATED, BARRING SOME CATASTROPHE.

We have been linking up with the West St residents group and another group from Gordon Rd. who are concerned about parking, particularly as it relates to Focus, the new office block on the old civic centre car park,

Initial plans  for the old Civic Centre site can be found on Adur Planning website reference, EIAopinion/0002/19. They are proposing 200 affordable units, 60% shared ownership,40% social rented, 1,2,3 bedroom and commercial floor space; set out over 5-12 STOREYS and WITH ONLY 85 PARKING PLACES.! ALREADY THE FOCUS CAR PARK IS FULL AND BETWEEN 60-70 CARS ARE USING THE CIVIC CENTRE SITE AS AN OVERFLOW.

HOPE TO SEE YOU ON NOVEMBER 8 WITH WITH LOTS OF IDEAS AND QUESTIONS.

All the best.

The Committee  Barb, Geoff, Gerard, Jenny, Chrissie, Peter, Alan, Bill

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