Fears development could ‘break’ village

Public meeting of Save Billingshurst Action Group (submitted).

Public meeting of Save Billingshurst Action Group (submitted).

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A Billingshurst campaigner has urged the council to listen as it prepares its housing plan for the next 20 years.

He called on Horsham District Council to make their decisions clearer, and said that the onus was on them to speed up preparing the Horsham District Planning Framework, which has stalled since October 2012.

He explained: “Why has it taken so long to get nowhere? I do not believe we are in any better position than we were a year ago.”

The village of Billingshurst is fighting off two separate appeals, one for 44 houses and another for 550.

While he emphasised that he was not against small scale development and infill in the right places, development of the scale currently being proposed could leave some very damaging legacy issues.

He said: “It seems they want to break Billingshurst and make it into a town, but it will not be a proper town because it will not have the infrastructure to go with it.”

He added: “You can’t keep adding properties on and on.”

Rather than develop in Horsham district’s villages, he said that a new market town, was generally felt to be the right solution to the area’s future housing needs.

He rubbished the notion that housebuilding could revive the nation’s economy, and infrastructure should be put in before housebuilding commences on any future strategic sites.

He explained: “We do not have any employment in Billingshurst. It’s not sustainable. Who would want to build more properties in Billingshurst? It’s ludicrous.”

Having sat in on the last few Strategic Planning Advisory Group meetings he said it was impossible for the public to understand what the council was actually doing.

“What we need is a bit of clarity,” he added.