Plans which ‘risked creating ghetto’ in Horsham revised

JPCT 140314 Winterton Court, New Street, Horsham. Photo by Derek  Martin SUS-140314-150900001
JPCT 140314 Winterton Court, New Street, Horsham. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-140314-150900001
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Plans which ‘risked creating a ghetto’ in the heart of Horsham have been revised and resubmitted to the council.

Saxon Weald’s scheme to demolish its sheltered housing for the elderly, mostly bungalows, in Winterton Court and replace them with 65 flats and four homes for affordable housing was rejected by Horsham District Council back in April 2015.

Winterton Court visual images (photo from HDC's planning portal). SUS-161208-122857001

Winterton Court visual images (photo from HDC's planning portal). SUS-161208-122857001

The housing association has submitted a fresh application for 59 flats and seven homes.

However only 20 flats would be intermediate rent, the three homes would be shared ownership, and the remaining 39 flats and four homes would be sold on the open market.

This would meet the council’s 35 per cent affordable housing target.

Saxon Weald’s application explained that the organisation, along with other providers across the country, has ‘faced unprecedented challenges due to changes in government legislation’.

The proposals will stimulate a more diverse residential population within the site, thereby supporting a sense of community and safety

Saxon Weald’s design and access statement

So far both the Horsham Society and Forest Neighbourhood Council have objected to the application.

Philip Ayerst, responding on behalf of the Horsham Society to the application, said they considered the scheme a ‘depressing companion’ to the nearby Standings Court development,

He argued that the buildings were too large for the site and the use of dark materials created a ‘barrack-like appearance’, while the choice of material was ‘dull, unimaginative and featureless’.

Meanwhile Forest Neighbourhood Council (FNC) asked if HDC would have to review its £7m loan to Saxon Weald since the scheme was no longer purely for social housing, and added: “If Saxon Weald is serious about selling the majority of the properties on this site it should make sure the properties are what people want to buy.”

Winterton Court visual images (photo from HDC's planning portal). SUS-161208-122843001

Winterton Court visual images (photo from HDC's planning portal). SUS-161208-122843001

FNC also raised concerns about pedestrian safety, parking, congestion, as well as questioning the decision to confine all the social housing into the tallest block which would ‘do nothing for the esteem of those tenants in that block’.

But according to Saxon Weald: “The site at Winterton Court provides a prime opportunity to develop a positive legacy for the Horsham community as a whole.

“Providing 66 safe and secure homes on this site will provide a home for many people for years to come.”

The application’s design and access statement continues: “The proposals will stimulate a more diverse residential population within the site, thereby supporting a sense of community and safety.

Winterton Court visual images (photo from HDC's planning portal). SUS-161208-122912001

Winterton Court visual images (photo from HDC's planning portal). SUS-161208-122912001

“As well as making better use of a highly sustainable and well located site.”

Back in April 2015, when HDC’s Devleopment Control North Committee refused Saxon Weald’s first application former councillor David Holmes said an officer had ‘referred to the risk of creating a ghetto’, while Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) thought that some of the buildings looked like a ‘prison complex’.

Responding to the use of the word ‘ghetto’ after the meeting, Saxon Weald’s chief executive David Standfast asked people to moderate their language and to consider the needs of people without adequate housing.

To view plans visit www.horsham.gov.uk/planning using code DC/16/1320.

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