District councillors the County Times spoke to this week welcomed the move to appoint an outside consultant to assist with the preparation of a new housing strategy before public consultation in 2013.
Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater) said that while some had suggested that Southwater may be a suitable location for large amounts of housing, they could not make any decisions until they had all the relevant facts in front of them.
She explained: “Firstly we have to decide what our housing needs actually are and consider what impact development would have on whatever locations become our preferred strategy.
“The planning consultant we have employed will help us in our deliberations and all concerns of local residents will be taken into account.”
Gordon Lindsay (Con, Billingshurst and Shipley) said: “We need to make sure we get this right and this lady brings a wealth of experience spent with John Prescott’s office, and knows how Government works and can assist towards housing numbers.
“Any experience in that area that we can get is very useful.”
Ian Howard (Con, Southwater) added: “Receiving that help for members to make the right decision has got to be worthwhile.”
He added: “She is there to help members understand the process, it’s not for her to decide the process.”
Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) was circumspect about the appointment, but hoped that new plans would have the goal of enhancing communities at their forefront.