DOZENS of people gathered outside a dinner for a Tory minister to protest about developments approved by a council.

Michael Gove attended a Conservative Association dinner at Bognor Regis Golf Club on Friday evening amid the demonstration by residents. 

Arun District Council has approved various developments in the area, leading to concerns about oversubscribed schools, roads and hospitals.

Residents held signs saying "enough is enough" and "save our soil for growing food".

The Argus:

A Facebook event was set up calling for a demonstration to ask Mr Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, to "save Arun's agricultural land and countryside". 

Organiser Derrick Chester said: “Demonstrate to Michael Gove how much we value our green spaces and farmland and how we resent as a community councils being forced to grant permission to even more unsuitable developments under punishment.”

Derrick later thanked those who attended the event, saying that “it was a shame Michael Gove speedily snuck in the back” and that “we need to harness that solidarity in further action, and we will”.

One Facebook user commented on Mr Gove’s apparent refusal to speak with protesters, saying: “Gove is a little snake, expected nothing less”.

The Argus:

Arun District Council failed to meet its housing targets in the three years to March 2021, leading to huge pressure to approve developments.

Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, was also in attendance and spoke with residents outside the golf club.

Protesters argue that the council’s plans to build large developments, including a 480-property development on the Bognor golf course, do not take into account the subsequent increase in use of local services, facilities and roads.

Another Facebook user, who is against the plans, said that the area is “losing very valuable agricultural land” amid developments that will see “so many buildings between the Souths Downs national park and the sea”.

Francis Oppler, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Bognor Regis East, attended the protest, and estimated that more than 70 people were present to voice their concerns when Mr Gove and Mr Gibb arrived.

The Conservatives, Nick Gibb, Michael Gove and Arun District Council have been contacted for comment.