A final report on Horsham’s local housing plan is due to be published by the planning inspector by the end of October.
Initial examination into Horsham District Council’s planning framework was held over nine days of hearings in November and resumed in July this year after revisions to housing numbers and sites.
Although a final report was expected to be released in August, the planning inspectorate has told the council that a final report will now be published by the end of October.
The plan 800 homes a year up to 2031 and large-scale development north of Horsham and west of Southwater.
Plans for up to 2,750 homes and a new business park north of the A264 have proved controversial with residents, but an attempt to shelve the scheme by Tory councillors was defeated back in June.
Meanwhile North Horsham Parish Council has raised the possibility of launching a judicial review as it approved a £30,000 budget in September for legal expenses as it seeks legal advice on the ‘appropriateness, lawfulness and viability’ of HDC’s local plan.
Writing in this week’s County Times Claire Vickers, HDC’s cabinet member for planning and development, said: “A successful JR could delay the HDPF but for a JR to be successful, there needs to have been a serious flaw in the process of the preparation of the plan.
“The inspector has not raised any such concerns and has already said that the housing strategy is sound.
“He did however insist that we increase our numbers to 800 homes per year over the Plan period 2011-2031. We are currently awaiting the inspector’s final report.
“If the JR is unsuccessful it is unlikely there would be a delay in the adoption of the plan. IF a JR is successful, the HDPF [Horsham District Planning Framework] could not be implemented until any flaws in the process identified by the court had been corrected. It is unlikely that the court would focus on the planning merits of the plan.
“The Government has already made it very clear that councils who do not have a plan, may have one imposed on them.
“Therefore any delay in the plan could mean that our housing numbers will increase further with potential pressure from London and the coast as well as any possible expansion of Gatwick Airport.”
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