Written evidence submitted by Mr Clive Fennell (FS0003)


Ban development on agricultural land to increase food self-sufficiency


In Arun, we have some of the finest farmland in the country, please see attached map. Arun is at the bottom in blue, east of the Isle of Wight, as you can see prime quality agricultural land; tomatoes, strawberries, salad, sunflower, wheat, maize and rapeseed are all grown here. This does employ a large number of people. The area has deprivation and these farms are very generous with unsold, unwanted food and supply the Littlehampton Community Fridge with salads and strawberries for example; the result is, many people have what they wouldn't possibly be able to afford.  The area is below the South Downs national park, but next to the sea. This area of prime farmland has been set housing targets that are impossible to meet, as it has to absorb housing that can’t be built on the South Down's protected national park, yet this soil is far superior to anything on the South Downs. This is not fair! Jobs, environment, food supply on valuable farmland is being destroyed by planning targets set by the government. The Government takes energy supply seriously, which it should, but it also should take food production seriously. Arun DC has approved development on Ford Airfield, not the developed area, which is staying in industrial use, but the green fields around the edge, currently growing maize and wheat, like it always has, even during the second world war. This is exactly what we need in the long term if the Ukraine situation carries on, as they currently supply us with over 25% of our sunflower oil and cereals.  There are many other areas as well, like Pagham. Pagham harbour, famed for its Brent Geese (red listed) as they live on the harbour, but they feed on the fields in Pagham. Planning permission has been granted to build houses, therefore their food will be gone, as well as ours! The Goring gap, being the only gap between Littlehampton and Worthing. The vineyard under Highdown, plans in for submission! This will leave many areas in Yapton and other villages, all grade 1 and 2 farmland being destroyed, just to meet housing targets. What about the future, we need food for sustainability? Once this grade 1 and 2 farmland is gone, its gone forever! We need housing, but we have lots of Brownfield sites in Littlehampton that could be used, but as it is easier and cheaper, they build on the fields. The housing they build is detached large houses for out of town people, when what we need, is in town development of small starter homes, for new starts and young families. 6 months ago I started a petition, which is the title of my evidence, please see ref 1. You will notice that the very best blue land directly ties in with the petition map. I understand Kent have the same issues as Sussex and they have also started a petition Ref 2. I would like you to take both of these into account. You will also notice in the 3rd map, that Arun is already densely populated, so what is built should remain in the current footprint, not be built on our grade 1 farmland! We need to keep it for our own future food sustainability.

I believe we need to preserve our fields for food security, as once its gone, its gone forever! We need it for our future, but primarily for our children and grandchildren.


Ref 1 https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/611113?


Ref 2 https://www.change.org/p/westminster-halt-harmful-housing-with-new-environmental-planning-law-no-more-greenfields-building?

September 2022