More than 200 representations have been received by the South Downs National Park (SDNPA) opposing the inclusion, at the eleventh hour, of a new housing site in the Petworth Neighbourhood Plan.
The plan hit a hurdle after the independent examiner called for the new housing site to be added to the plan for the development of around ten homes on land south of the Rothermead site.
The plan was examined before Christmas and Petworth town councillors, who have led the steering group work, had hoped it would go forward to its referendum in April before being set in stone as planning guidance for developers.
But on February 15 members of the park’s planning committee decided to hold a further six-week public consultation on the possible last minute changes to the plan.
They heard from a resident living near the site who said the proposed access would seriously affect his amenity and he and many of his neighbours were ‘extremely dismayed’ the site could be included at such a late stage of the plan.
The public consultation ended on March 23 but the process could mean the referendum on the neighbourhood plan will have to be put back to early June.
In their report to the park’s planning committee officers said: “Petworth Town Council are to be congratulated on progressing the plan to the final stage ahead of a community referendum.
“It is the result of considerable hard work by local volunteers and members of the town council.”
A spokesman for the national park said: “We received a total of 14 individual responses, including statutory consultees, and 203 signed identical letters. The SDNPA is in the process of carefully considering the responses and will be issuing the final decision statement in mid-April.”