Council’s 11,500-home housing plan for next 20 years to be debated tonight

An illustrative image of what a building in the new North of Horsham business park may look like.

An illustrative image of what a building in the new North of Horsham business park may look like.

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The council’s long-awaited draft housing plan was published last week laying out 11,500 new homes in the district for the next 20 years and will be debated tonight (Thursday July 25).

It will be discussed at a full Horsham District Council meeting, with various anti-housing campaign groups from across the Horsham district expected to have their say.

The strategy outlines a blueprint for 2,500 houses North of Horsham with a new business park, and around 500 homes in both Billingshurst and Southwater, with around 500 homes dispersed across the district.

Of the 11,500 around 6,900 have already been completed or received planning permission.

Writing in today’s County Times Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater), cabinet member for living and working communities, said there were no better deliverable options for housing than the ones in the council’s draft housing plan.

Last week six Conservatives - five district and one county councillor - signed a letter opposing large-scale housebuilding north of the town, while Southwater Parish Council’s chairman resigned citing HDC’s vacillation over its planning policy as one of his reasons for stepping down.

Mrs Vickers said: “Such decisions are not easy and far from ‘sleepwalking’ - as the letter suggests - into a plan, we have spent many months trying to find the option that minimises the impact on the countryside.

“It is somewhat disappointing therefore, after many months of discussion in which they have participated, that my colleagues have suggested that there are ‘far better sites’ available implying that there are viable alternatives which have not yet been explored. I note that they do not say where these are.

“There are no better deliverable options out there.”

For coverage of the meeting, including reaction, see the County Times’ website tonight and tomorrow morning.