The proposed North Horsham development of 2,500 homes has passed the initial scrutiny of the planning inspector in a report released today (Friday December 19).
Plans for the homes and a new business park were unveiled north of the A264 have sparked massive opposition in the town since they were unveiled in July 2013.
Inspector Geoff Salter scrutinised Horsham District Council’s local plan in November and has suggested in his initial report at least 15,000 not 13,000 homes should be planned for up to 2031, with a six-month suspension of the examination required.
But he said that ‘nothing has convinced me that the proposed allocation [at North Horsham] is not sound’.
In his report he said: “The developer of North Horsham was very positive about the prospects for deliverability and viability of the business park element of the allocation, given its location on the strategic road network and the potential for good rail access.
“From my visits throughout the plan area, I consider this to be the employment site with the most realistic chance of combining commercial success with reasonable provision of access by public transport.
“Overall, the housing and employment benefits of the proposed allocation would significantly outweigh the disadvantages of the environmental impacts, which in my view would not be unacceptably severe.”
He added: “In essence, I consider that the council has not properly identified the correct level of housing need over the plan period and consequently needs to modify the HDPF to show how the additional requirements for housing can be met.
“I suggest a way forward through the suspension of the examination for six months to enable the council to address this issue by undertaking further work.”
He said it would be for HDC ‘to decide how best to revise its housing strategy’.
For a full report and reaction see next week’s paper.
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