Homes ‘essential’ to avoid Crawley overspill in other parts of district

Aerial shot of the land lined up for development west of Ifield.

Aerial shot of the land lined up for development west of Ifield.

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Homes west of Ifield are essential if the council does not want to deal with Crawley overspill throughout Horsham district – according to developers.

Welbeck Strategic Land, Rydon Homes and Wates Developments have formed a consortium to promote a scheme for between 2,500 and 3,500 homes, within Horsham district, but right on the border with Crawley.

They presented to Horsham District Council in June in the run-up to an announcement on which strategic sites the council will bring forward for housing.

Richard Thomas, partner at Welbeck Strategic, said: “What better place to satisfy Crawley’s needs than on the edge of Crawley itself?”

He added: “We should put it on the edge of Crawley otherwise Billingshurst or Southwater will have to accommodate Crawley overspill.”

Mr Thomas said the duty to cooperate in the Localism Act meant that HDC was legally bound to accommodate new houses for Crawley.

He explained: “Crawley needs a lot more houses not just because of the make-up of its demographic but also because of its employment needs.

“But it can’t do it because of its administrative boundaries.”

He warned HDC that if they did not allocate the site as a preferred strategy, the planning inspector, who has to approve any new local development framework as sound, would throw it out.

Ian Howard (Con, Southwater), chairman of HDC’s strategic planning advisory group, and cabinet member for living and working communities, said that land west of Ifield was one of the sites that could be chosen for future housing allocation.

He also confirmed that the council has been in dialogue with adjoining authorities as required by the Localism Act.

Mr Thomas said that if the scheme was given the go-ahead they would look to submit a planning application in 2014, start building in 2015, and finish by 2025, having created ‘good quality family neighbourhoods’.

Houses would be on the southern strip of land, with a public park occupying the northern part, where Gatwick Airport’s noise contours preclude building homes, with possible development of Ifield Golf Course.

He added they would create a good-quality neighbourhood for families.