A FAMILY’S dreams of redeveloping two derelict houses have finally been approved after years of debate.
Old Doomsday House at Hammerpond Road, Horsham has lain derelict for about seven years after the owners died and since then family members have tried to secure planning permission to build on the site, as had the deceased.
Both of the existing properties have also been subject to arson attacks, theft and homes to squatters.
After numerous refusals and an appeal, members of Horsham District Council’s development management committee agreed to allow a pair of semi-detached homes, two four-bedroom detached homes and a three-bedroom bungalow to be built.
Residents of Heron Way were not happy with the plans, though, as they feel they will be overlooked, that it would be overdevelopment of the site and would be an example of garden grabbing.
Paul Jennings of Heron Way said: “Plot three, a substantial four-bed house with the potential of extension into the roof space, is totally out of character with the area.
“Hillreed’s comparisons are of properties nowhere near this site.”
He added: “When we were invited to view the plans, Hillreed stated plot four was orientated to offer the new owners a woodland view to the south.
“The eight properties in Heron Way have for 45 years enjoyed a woodland view to the west.
“This is to be surrendered along with our privacy.”
Resident Stephanie Burt highlighted concerns about disruption to wildlife in the area such as slow worms, bats, grass snakes and birds nesting in the trees.
Local member Godfrey Newman (Con, Forest) said he was ‘unhappy’ about the plans due to privacy in the middle of the site.
He said all trees there were canopies ‘with not much going on beneath’.
However, supporter of the plans Richard Mower, whose uncle was previously granted permission to build two homes on the site before he died, pleaded with members to bring this battle to an end.
He explained how he had stayed at Old Doomsday with his brother, sister and cousin during their childhood and that his uncle started work on the new builds, but they were never completed.
The current plans were the result of a lot of work with council officers and an attempt to meet requirements laid down by a planning inspector who refused their appeal for seven houses on the site in March last year.
The inspector said plans for five homes would not be considered over-development of the site, but he added that he thought even plans for seven homes would not ‘unacceptably affect the living conditions of the adjoining occupiers’ in Heron Way.
Mr Mower said that a positive decision would enable the family to move on from this legal wrangling.
Taking all this into account, members agreed to delegate the plans to officers with a view to approve subject to discussions with the owners about maintaining privacy with screening.