Adur Council’s controversial decision to allow an IKEA store and 600 homes in the New Monks Farm area on the western edge of Shoreham Airport has been rubber-stamped following completion of planning formalities, and work is under way preparing the site.
The proposals drew widespread opposition including from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the South Downs National Park Authority, Friends of the Earth and Sussex Wildlife Trust. Their objections were based on multiple issues including air pollution, traffic congestion, flood risk, utility capacity and environmental damage.
Ironically one of the formal processes which had to be completed before the planning approval was confirmed was the completion of an environmental impact study, which has clearly dismissed the environmental concerns raised by experts from the above organisations.
As well as the extensive housing (allowed for in the Adur Local Plan despite concerns about the impact on local infrastructure), the proposals include a new primary school, business and commercial premises in addition to the IKEA store, plus a 24-hectare country park which was added in response to concerns over loss of open space.
A separate proposal for the north-east corner of Shoreham Airport was also approved by the council despite similarly strong opposition. It is for buildings 25,000 square metres in area and 14 metres high, to be used for “storage and distribution”. The usage description caused alarm that it could have a major impact with high volumes of lorry and delivery van traffic.
With the A27 and A259 already suffering heavy congestion and frequent gridlock, and local air pollution levels already dangerously high, both of these development proposals have inevitably caused deep concerns.
News of the closure of IKEA’s Coventry store and a reported shift by them towards smaller city-centre stores, there has been some speculation that the company might pull out of New Monks Farm, but even if they did, the planning consent would remain for other non-food retailers to step in.