Yapton Residents Raise Their Objections to Boklok Development

Jan Cosgrove
8 min readApr 15, 2024


Update: 8th July 2024

May-June 2024 latest from our Yapton reporter

In March 2024 a Non- Material Amendment was approved by the ADC
Planning Department for 30 houses in Yapton for a change from
conventional brick build to Boklok modular. That decision was reached
solely by ADC Planning under ‘delegated powers’ not the ADC Planning

78 residents had raised objections to this proposal. Also, YPC and some
ADC Planning Committee Cllrs., who had requested that this matter
should be taken to the ADC Planning Committee, but these requests
were refused.

After the approval was announced in March, Boklok advised that the
commencement of works on the 30 houses on land West of Bilsham Rd.
in Yapton would commence imminently.

Advertising flags were also approved to state ’coming shortly’, but they
have not been installed. Nor any details put out by Boklok, to indicate
any reason for delay. It has been 3 months since the NMA approval, and
approx.21months since the original planning approval, (Aug.2022).
Questions are now being raised in Yapton as to why this much- vaunted
Boklok development, has not yet materialised.

It is already on record that Top Hat, the suppliers and makers of the
modules and units for Boklok developments, had a 5- year contract with
them as suppliers from 2020. Also, that there was substantial funding
from Goldman Sachs for the factory in Corby (Northamptonshire) to be
built. It is also on record that Top Hat recorded a substantial financial
loss in previous years.

The following extract was taken from building periodical ‘PBC Today’
(May2024) which may throw some light on the matter and recent events
ref. Top Hat.
Andrew Shepherd leaves Top Hat on May10th ((2024)) as Managing Director and who joined
in Oct.2020.

Top Hat’s planned expansion has stumbled. In March it announced 70
redundancies at its Derbyshire Factory. This was followed by the news
that the company was putting its second factory a 6,500 sq. metre facility
in Corby ((Northamptonshire)) is on indefinite pause until further notice
with every member of the team laid off.

The factory development in Magna Park would have increased the
volumetric modular housing capacity from 800 units a year to 4,800
when completed.

As part of the expansion, Houses England agreed to lend Top Hat 15m.
in Autumn 2023. An investment was also secured in early 2023 from the
likes of FTSE- 100 Housebuilders Persimmon and Institutional Investor

The company is yet to turn a profit, posting a 20.4 million pre-tax loss for
the year 31 st Oct 2022, up 5% on the previous year’’.

Also ‘out there’:
‘Top Hat also secured a partnership with Nexity, France’s largest
property developer as part of their ‘Imagine’2026 strategy. Nexity aims to
have 10% of housing production completed in factories by 2028.
Nexity delivered 18,000 homes last year and 2,000 off- site prefabricated
units and presents real expertise’.

It is known that Boklok have other developments currently underway in
Worthing and Littlehampton. It remains to be seen how these publicised
matters may affect production and supply to existing developments both
in West Sussex and in France and how this may affect any future
developments proposed in the area.

Perhaps Boklok may wish to comment, and hopefully clarify their
position, regarding supply, build, and outcome in West Sussex at this

15th April 2024

Our Local Reporter, Bognor Regis Herald 15th April 2024

Boklok put forward an application as a non- material amendment for
application Y/15/24/NMA in February, to change the previously approved
plan for the conventional build of 30 houses to be replaced by their style
of pre- fabrication.

Many Yapton residents and YPC objected to this proposed application,
stating that it was a material change instead. They, and the ADC
Planning Committee, requested that this matter should be put before a
public meeting of the ADC Planning Committee. Their requests were
The decision to approve the application was then made by a sole
planning officer under ‘delegated powers’ . Such an outcome has
created further bad feeling and concerns that local opinion is being
ignored and that decisions are being made behind hand.
When the result was announced, Boklok advised that the development
of the 30 houses was to commence imminently.
The application contains pre-commencement conditions, which also
have to be undertaken and approved in outcome before any works on
the site are commenced. To date, it appears that none of these have
been approved or actioned. It is understood that residents are ready to
insist on a ‘Stop’ or ’Enforcement Notice’ if any works are attempted
without those conditions being fulfilled.

One of those relates to the signing of an S106 agreement, a legal deed
document which contains confirming details of developer contributions,
towards schools and highways for the area of Yapton. Introductory
payments are also required at the outset of development. Recent
enquiries to ADC through FOI requests indicate that none have yet
been received, nor a notice form, to advise that any building is to

At the ADC Planning Committee meeting ref Y/3/22/OUT on 24/8/22,
planning approval was conditional on the signing of an S106, which had
to be agreed within 5 months of the date of that meeting or the
application would be refused. It was signed on 9/1/23.

Although the S106 deed is registered to Landlink Properties 4 Ltd., it is
understood that Boklok intended to take over the site from May 2023. A
recent investigation into the current ownership of the land through Land
Registry, has confirmed that it is currently still in the ownership of

It is possible that any Land Registry transfer may still be ’in process’. But
no works can commence, until the actual owner of the land is confirmed
as a current signatory to the deed, and the required contributions made.
Our local reporter has also sought details on the latest position
regarding Air Source Heat Pumps as an outstanding matter for the

The matter was raised by a Yapton resident at the ADC Planning
Committee Meeting on Nov.15th 2023, and who spoke in objection to the
proposed development for 170 houses for Y/52/23/PL. Concerns were
also raised, about the permitted acoustic levels of Air Source Heat
Pumps intended to be installed in every property on the development.
Evidential details were presented by the speaker, from a Daily Mail
article of Nov.13th, a significant Gov. report from the Department of
Energy Security and Net Zero and details from an acoustics expert. All
of which advised of the necessary requirements for compliance
regarding such installations.

An ADC Cllr. also advised that this matter needed to be investigated
further in the debate that followed. It appears that after 4 months, no
investigation has yet taken place by ADC.
The latest updated enquiries by the BRH indicated that recent queries
and questions had been submitted by a resident in email to the ADC
Group Head of Planning, about ASHPs on April 1 st 2024, again stating
the possible adverse outcomes to end users, without acoustic

This would be most likely to affect all terraced and semi- detached
properties, as acoustic levels can be incremented by 3dB every time the
number of units are doubled.

The ADC Planning Department declined to respond to the questions and
queries posed by the Yapton resident, but stated instead, that the email
would be ‘filed as for an earlier ‘representation’ as put on the planning
website for the representation submitted on 8/3/24’.
The BRH was unable to confirm why the details and questions,
submitted on April1st. have not been uploaded. It is confirmed that to
date no details have been added on any of the planning applications
websites in connected to the Boklok developments for: — Y/3/22/OUT,
Y/52/23/PL Y/15/24/NMA or Y/16/24/A or in association since 13/3/24 or
from April1st 2024.

Questions are now also being raised as to why investigations into this
potentially serious matter for the development of Land West of Bilsham
Rd. have not been undertaken, and why the details of concern submitted
to ADC have been withheld from public view.


The residents of Yapton are trying to come to terms with their
disappointment, that after the ADC Planning Committee voted to refuse
the application for 170 Boklok houses on Nov.15th 2023, they did ‘u turn’
and withdrew 3 out of 4 objections at their next meeting on Dec 14 th .It
remains to be seen whether the remaining objection, is sufficient to go to
review by the Secretary of State.

There was a further disappointment on Feb 19th when it was discovered
that Boklok had put in another application for 30 houses, Y/15/24/NMA,
in connection with part of the above, for a Non-material Amendment to
the application Y/22/23/OUT, which had earlier been approved in full.
(Application decision advised to be made on Y/15/24/NMA, March18th,

The stated intention of Boklok, is to seek to replace the style of the 30
conventional build houses as approved, with their minimalist,
prefabricated, modular build for the entire site.

The residents see the proposal, as a Material change to the previously
approved plans for the development. This prospect has also prompted
dismay and outrage in rep letter responses, with dozens of adverse
comments on the ADC planning website.

Including from those, who feel that the way that this application has been
submitted, is a behind- hand way to seek planning approval later, for the
remainder of the site adjacent, ref. Y/52/23/PL, as currently refused.
Residents are seeking to persuade the ADC planning department that
the Non- material Amendments advised, are Material. Also, that the
application should be deferred or refused and resubmitted, as a Full
application instead. So that their views can be properly represented and
put before the ADC Planning Committee for final deliberation and vote.
If the application remains as a ‘Non- material Amendment’, unless it is
re-presented as a Full application, the outcome will be decided by the
ADC planning officers instead. Such applications are not put out for
public debate, or to the ADC Planning Committee for a decision

Another aspect was raised by a resident public speaker as an objection
at the ADC Planning Committee Meeting on Nov.15th 2023. It related tothe alleged non- compliance of Air Source Heat Pumps acoustic levels,
anticipated for the main Boklok development.
Acoustic levels from such appliances are allegedly above compliant
levels for properties in close proximity as indicated by the plans for the
site. Details of Gov. and external reviews, British Standards, and other
necessary approvals and requirements were presented in objection at
the above meeting, with evidential material from recent articles in the
Telegraph, the Daily Mail, and an acoustic specialist.

In the debate at the meeting that followed, an ADC Planning Committee
member advised that this matter should be looked into.
No details have been provided by ADC subsequently, to indicate that
any such investigation took place. It was also left off the list of objections
to be reviewed on Dec14th.Residents have now queried as to why this
was, and in relation to the latest application. A response from the ADC
Planning Dept. on that matter is awaited.

The BRH understands that residents have now also raised their
concerns directly to all the members of ADC Planning Committee both
about the Non- material Amendments, and why the objection regarding
ASHPs was excluded from the list for objection on Dec14th and now,
going forward.

It is also observed that Yapton Parish Council have also submitted an
objection to the Boklok Non- material amendment proposal.



Jan Cosgrove

National Secretary of Fair Play for Children, Also runs Bognor Regis Herald online. Plus runs British Music Radio online