Proposed access arrangements on to one of Horsham town centre’s busiest roads were labelled ‘crazy’ and ‘ridiculous’ by the council.
Horsham District Council rejected a scheme to demolish Linden House in Chart Way and build a block of 80 apartments in its place in October 2013, branding the design ‘ugly’ and calling it a potential ‘blight’ on the town.
However the agents submitted a new application simply to provide new access to the car park, underneath the block of empty offices, straight from Albion Way. Currently cars enter the office car park from Madeira Avenue.
At an HDC Development Control North Committee meeting last Tuesday several councillors expressed their amazement that West Sussex County Council’s highways department had raised no road safety objections.
David Skipp (LDem, Roffey North) said: “For the life of me I can’t justify voting for something as ridiculous and crazy as this.”
He added: “I have to say I’m totally baffled by West Sussex highways. I assumed when we looked at planning issues there was some application of common sense. What appears to be totally missing is one of common sense.”
Malcolm Curnock (LDem, Broadbridge Heath) added: “I must say I support councillor Skipp. It’s a ludicrous place to put a junction.”
If approved the pedestrian footpath would have to be altered and it would be a ‘left in, left out’ priority junction.
All three local members Conservative Josh Murphy, and Lib Dems David Holmes and Frances Haigh, raised concerns about road safety in Albion Way.
Mrs Haigh described the application as ‘piecemeal’, while Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) objected to the ‘salami style approach’ to the site.
Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater), HDC’s cabinet member for living and working communities, joined the chorus of objections, adding: “It never ceases to amaze me the decisions West Sussex County Council comes to in terms of highways safety.”
Some members were keen to refuse the application.
But officers argued that since they had not officially objected to the plans for 80 apartments on highways grounds it would be very difficult for them to successfully defend a rejection of identical access arrangements. It was therefore agreed to defer the application to meet with the county council’s highways officers.
Linden House was vacated by Royal Sun Alliance in March 2007.