THE controversial New Monks Farm development in Lancing came under scrutiny at the latest meeting of the Sussex Property Alliance.

The meeting was held at Brighton City Airport and the Alliance is a regular forum where property professionals within the local Sussex area gather, exchange ideas and build relationships.

The topic was the new proposed plans which would create 600 homes, a school, a 28-hectare country park and a 35,000 sqm flagship IKEA store.

There are also separate plans to build 25,000 sqm of employment space at the adjacent Brighton City Airport.

James Appleton, head of planning and development at Adur and Worthing Councils, said “The New Monks Farm application will likely be determined in the first few months of next year.

“Aside from the numerous environmental, heritage and highways objections to be considered, overall scheme viability is a key issue and the applicant’s claim that the delivery of the development was heavily reliant upon the proposed IKEA store had to be tested.”

Considerable concerns have been raised by the local community about extra congestion on the A27 because of the IKEA store.

Mr Appleton stressed that the application was not expected to deal with the wider A27 problems but had to demonstrate that it would mitigate the impact of the additional development traffic on the trunk road.

He said: “The two planning applications were promoting more development than envisaged by the Local Plan and had provoked considerable opposition.

“The local planning authority will have to weigh up the benefits of the schemes in terms of new homes, jobs and economic development with the impact on the local environment, heritage and local infrastructure.

“The applications are hugely complex.”

Steve Berrett, Michael Jones commercial director who co-organised the event, said: “These are major but very controversial planning applications and we were pleased James Appleton was able to come along and speak to our guests to explain the challenges faced.

“There will be understandably much local opposition, while other people will argue that this will put Lancing on the map and focus on the knock-on benefits that this could bring. It will be interesting to follow the planning stages over the next few months.”

The future of this major development will be watched with great interest, especially for those with property interests in the local area.

A recent study carried out by the Lancing sales office of Michael Jones Estate Agents showed prices have risen by an average of 46.5 per cent since 2013 over a range of properties sold in the Lancing area due to recent developments and national chains now moving into the local area.

This is an additional nice per cent increase over and above the Nationwide House Price Index for the South East, which calculated house prices in this area.