Archaeologists and ecologists are carrying out tests on the site of a huge housing development.

Experts have started work on land at North Bersted in Bognor, where permission has been granted for 650 homes and a relief road.

They will spend nine weeks there to ensure environmental and archaeological interests in the site are protected.

This was one of the conditions of planning permission agreed by the Government.

Developers still need to submit a "reserved matters"

planning application, which provides final details about the site. This must be approved by Arun District Council before any work can take place.

Councillor Norman Dingemans, cabinet member for economic and cultural development, said: "We don't want anyone to be concerned by the sight of a digger on the site or to mistakenly think building has started.

"This is something which we have asked the developers to do as part of the preliminary planning stage and is normal procedure on a major development such as this."

Berkeley Homes, the lead developer in the scheme, submitted two applications to Arun District Council which would amend certain conditions already in place.

One of the main changes is for the remaining conditions to be approved by the council in phases rather than all at once.

It has also asked to increase the average number of parking and garage spaces allocated to each dwelling.

The applications, numbered BE/99/07 and BE/100/07, can be viewed at Arun District Council's offices in Bognor Town Hall and Littlehampton Civic Centre.

They can also be viewed online at

Comments to the council should be submitted by August 30. A decision is likely to be made by September.

More information about this and other major developments in Bognor can be found on a new website launched this week.

The site, bognorregisregeneration, will enable the public to check on the progress of plans such as the £100m redevelopment of the Hothampton and Regis Centre sites by developer St Modwen, new hotels, homes, leisure facilities and improvements to schools.

Planning applications and consultations will feature on the site.

Possible future schemes, including a marina, the redevelopment of the former LEC site and the development of new commercial land at Shripney will also feature.

Developments expected over the coming weeks include the signing of legal agreements between the council and St Modwen.

The developer is expected to lodge planning applications shortly afterwards, with details of the proposed changes to the town centre and coast.

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