Christ’s Hospital set to release parcel of land as part of housing west of Southwater

View of land west of Southwater, with Christ's Hospital in the far left horizon.
View of land west of Southwater, with Christ's Hospital in the far left horizon.

Christ’s Hospital Foundation is exploring whether to sell a parcel of land as part of a proposed scheme for 2,750 homes west of Southwater.

Plans were presented in private to Horsham District Council’s strategic planning advisory group in June by developer Berkeley Strategic, laying out its vision for the 400-acre site, stretching from the Hop Oast roundabout to Woodlands Way.

The registered charity, which provides the funding for Christ’s Hospital School, said it periodically releases land for development in order to secure funding to educate gifted children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A spokesperson for CHF said: “CHF’s investments and fundraising provide around 70 per cent of the total income stream for the school, which currently provides 95 per cent of its pupils with a subsidised education, irrespective of their families’ ability to pay fees.

“Future income streams generated from the sale or development of the CHF’s land assets are therefore of great importance in sustaining the school at its Horsham site well into the future and ensuring that it can continue to enable as many children as possible to achieve their full potential.”

Plans presented to HDC would eclipse those already submitted, but temporarily put on hold, for 500 homes centred around Great House Farm.

This application was held in abeyance at the request of the developer in July.

Mooted mitigation measures would include an upgrade to the Hop Oast roundabout, land and funding for a secondary school, new facilities at Southwater Sports Club, a new link road, and a new retail and leisure centre.

A spokesperson for Berkeley Strategic said: “About 650 children currently have to travel by bus or are taken by car each day from Southwater to schools in other parts of Horsham.

“A new secondary school will allow children from Southwater to go to school in Southwater. Berkeley’s proposals will also deliver new and improved sports facilities.

“Over the last couple of years, we have undertaken significant community consultation with local people and have learnt a lot about local issues and aspirations.

“Berkeley is committed to continuing to work with the local community so that the development proposals best deliver local aspirations.”

According to Berkeley, all the land required for development is controlled by them ‘providing certainty of delivery’.

They were asked to present to the council how their vision for the land west of Southwater would meet the district’s future housing needs, in preparation for the publication of a HDC spatial strategy in the autumn for public consultation.

The CHF spokesperson added that Berkeley’s plan was one of these, with the majority of land owned by the Fletcher Trust, and a small pocket to the north by CHF.

Previous examples of CHF generating funds to derive income investment to run the school include Bluecoat Pond, which was developed with Gleesons and English Courtyards in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Berkeley already has outline planning permission for 1.044 homes west of Horsham and south of Tanbridge House School, off Guildford Road, and full planning permission for 196 houses on-site.