Council ‘broken’ every promise says Southwater parish chair

JPCT-15-09-11 SC11380173a Southwater countryside,  between New Road and Southwater Primary School -photo by steve cobb

JPCT-15-09-11 SC11380173a Southwater countryside, between New Road and Southwater Primary School -photo by steve cobb

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Every promise on housing has been broken by the district council - according to Southwater Parish Council’s chairman last Wednesday.

Giving an update to parishioners at the Annual Parish Meeting, Tony Bull said that while they had half a dozen meetings with Horsham District Council, they remained frustrated by the process of preparing the new planning framework.

Mr Bull said: “Every promise has been broken to date. It was a fundamental mistake withdrawing the interim statement.”

Southwater is facing the prospect of up to 2,750 homes west of the village if the strategic site makes it into HDC’s new planning framework, which is currently being drafted.

Berkeley Homes, which is lobbying for the site’s inclusion, also has an application in abeyance for 500 homes on part of that land.

Last week the new cabinet member of living and working communities, Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater), also a Southwater parish councillor, told the County Times one of her priorities was Neighbourhood Plans, where communities could draw up their own documents to inform development.

Mr Bull said that it was an option Southwater Parish Council would be exploring in the coming months.

However audience members questioned why it had taken so long to start putting together a plan and one said he remained disappointed it had taken six months and nothing had happened.

Mr Bull responded that until HDC published its plan there was no point in spending time seeking the views of the community as the parish did not want to do it twice.

He added: “There will be no choice. The only choice is where they [houses] are going to go.

“That’s the choice we are going to have.”

The parish currently has two councillor vacancies. For more information email parish@southwater.net