Timetable set for review of Horsham district housing numbers

Campaigners pictured in summer 2014 at the North Horsham A264 where the majority of housing is proposed  -photo by Steve Cobb S142404864x
Campaigners pictured in summer 2014 at the North Horsham A264 where the majority of housing is proposed -photo by Steve Cobb S142404864x
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Horsham District Council has today (January 13) set out a timetable for the work it will be doing to accommodate a higher level of new housing as required by a government inspector.

The council submitted the Horsham District Planning Framework to the Planning Inspectorate for independent examination in Summer 2014.

Hearings took place in November and the Planning Inspector, appointed by the Government to examine the Plan, published a letter on December 19 with his initial findings.

His only area of major concern with the HDPF was with the proposed level of housing provision.

The Inspector believes that the council should accommodate more new housing than in the plan - an extra 2,000 homes - and he states that he favours concentration of growth around Horsham, Southwater and Billingshurst along with some development in other villages, in accordance with Neighbourhood Plans that are currently being produced.

As a result, the council must now look at options for increasing its assessed number of 650 new homes per year, to meet the Inspector’s requirement of at least 750 homes per year.

The council will begin by looking at the allocations of homes that have already been made within existing planned developments to re-assess capacity at these sites. It will then need to look at the shortfall and look at where, within the criteria laid down by the Inspector, it can find further site allocations.

A report, with recommendations on where the additional new homes will be accommodated, will go to a council meeting on March 18.

Subject to full council approval, consultation on the amendments to the strategy will take place between March 23 and May 5. Detailed consultation on individual proposals will also take place during this time with any communities directly affected by the proposals.

Cabinet member for living and working communities Claire Vickers said: “It is most disappointing that the Inspector has forced this extra housing requirement on us as we have always sought to allocate the minimum amount of housing across the district to meet National Planning

Policy Framework (NPPF) requirements. However, we have long made clear the reality of the situation where the council either goes along with the Government’s requirements as laid out in the NPPF, and tries to extract the best deal it can for the district, or it stays in a position where it is unable to stop developers putting in applications for many more houses without any certainty of being able to extract the best community benefit. I am confident, that given the number of applications that are already agreed and in the pipeline, we can address a significant proportion of this higher number required by the inspector with minimum further impact.”

For the full story see Thursday’s County Times.