South Glos

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Council passes motion of no confidence in local plan amid concern over impact of climate change on coast

Arun District Council has passed a motion expressing no confidence its own local plan after a change of administration, amid concern at the impact of climate change on the coastal plain.

The local plan was adopted under the previous Conservative administration but last May the party - for the first time - lost control of the West Sussex council.

It is now run by a Liberal Democrat cabinet supported by an independent group and it last week passed a motion from the latter opposing housebuilding on a coastal plain.

The motion said: “We are compelled, against our will, by government, to build 20,000 new homes on a coastal plain. As councillors, we are required to consider and determine planning applications for 20,000 new homes on this part of the coastal plain in the coming years.”

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It described Arun as “uniquely unsuitable for large scale development” because of flooding risks and said the council therefore had no confidence in the local plan. 

The motion called on the Government to introduce a moratorium on large scale development in Arun until the impact of climate change on coastal plain could be properly assessed, and instructed chief executive Nigel Lynn to write to Whitehall to seek a meeting on the issue with a minister.

A council statement said Mr Lynn would write the letter, but added: “The outcome of the motion is an expression of the view of the council on a particular matter. It is not an adopted planning policy. 

“As a material consideration in the planning process it has virtually no weight. It should not therefore be a determining factor in any future decisions made on the acceptability or otherwise of individual planning applications.”

Mark Smulian

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