Nik Butler: Five stages of grief over North Horsham development

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
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All that was missing from the recent Inspectorate initial findings was the ‘with condolences’ card and a wreath for North Horsham.

Therefore it seems appropriate that we take time to consider how counsellors, the mental health variety, deal with the shocking revelation of bad news in daily life.

As an example the Kubler-Ross model for the Five stages of grief may well be a suitable paradigm for how many in Horsham District will be facing up to the on coming storm of development which they now locally face.

Denial at the results, will be the first emotion experienced, as the public compare the outcome of their determination, their research, their emails, their websites, their campaigns and their phone calls.

That so much effort, so many responses, the numerous conversations should not possibly have gone without comment will leave them shocked.

Anger soon follows; the sharp resentment against the prospect of reduced personal space and the loss of land, the once unencumbered view of greenfields and local hedgerows. The stress and the resentment will feed the fuel of conversations and thoughts in the hearts of many a campaigner well into the coming year.

Bargaining soon takes over and with it the acknowledgement that whilst further consultation is encouraged it will be during the May elections at which protesters will feel a sense of empowerment and opportunity. Conversely those seeking election will be looking for ways to innovate this future consultation into a promise of greater inclusiveness and involvement; the opportunities to strike the best manifesto deal will no doubt shape much of the next few months.

Depression as more planning notices appear and new development flyers begin to be delivered; the sense of loss over an idea which was once captured in the reasons those who campaigned had fought for. Possibly the lowest point in the whole consultation opportunity will be the fear that the Gatwick expansion has all but been rubber stamped in terms of approval to add more but give less to the community.

Acceptance is the final stage and with it the need to move on and either find a new place away from the maddening overcrowding or to shift living habits and embrace the changes to the landscape that was once viewed as immutable. At this point many will have moved on and refocused their energies and others will wonder just how much more can be lost.