Relief road won’t be built until half the homes sold

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DEVELOPERS are aiming to begin occupancy of new houses south of Broadbridge Heath this October, 20 attendees at an annual parish council meeting were told on Monday at St John’s Community Church Hall.

Sussex Police were also on hand to share the latest crime figures along with representatives from Countryside Properties and David Wilson Homes, both involved in the 963-home development called Wickhurst Green.

Rat-running through Warnham and Broadbridge Heath was raised again, as well as incredulity that the new bypass road would not be in place until halfway through the development, meaning that up to 450 households would be forced to exit on the Five Oaks Road.

Rosa Etherington, senior planning manager at Countryside Properties, said that the only way they could pay for the infrastructure improvements was by selling houses.

She added: “That’s why it has taken three years because we have had to show it will not make traffic any worse.”

The first phase will see a new junction on the A264 to give construction workers access to the site, with the first half of the new bypass, including the new roundabout on Five Oaks Road planned for the summer of 2013.

The second half of the bypass, including a new junction on the A24, would not be completed until mid-way through 2015.

Developers Countryside are also mandated to put in place cycle and footpath improvements before first occupation on the site, currently planned for October 2012.

They expressed the hope that signalling the Farthings Hill and Tesco roundabouts would have a positive impact on traffic flow and ease residents’ concerns.

Members also made a plea for traffic calming measures on Billingshurst Road specifically as the main road through the village.

David Wilson Homes, a sub-developer responsible for three parcels of land within the site, said that they would be submitting a detailed application for 135 homes in the next two to three weeks.

Responding to a specific question Sergeant Rachel Carr, of the Horsham Neighbourhood Policing Team, said she thought it was unlikely that police numbers would increase as a result of the development, but assuaged residents by pointing out those decisions went far higher than her.

However Countryside did say that part of their £450,000 community facility contribution could go towards increasing the police presence in the area.

Sergeant Carr praised the work of PCSO Roy Millard, who has worked with Tesco to reduce the number of thefts in the area, with cases of violence against a person also falling significantly.

Some residents highlighted youth speeding as one of their main concerns and the effect loud car radios had on the peace of the area.

Sergeant Carr said: “It is all about education with young drivers as they are the risk group.”

When the spectre of decreased number of parish councillors was raised a week after Billingshurst Parish Council fought against a decrease from 15 to 13, Malcom Curnock (LDem, Broadbridge Heath), told members that he had assurances they would remain at 13.

The parish council currently has two vacancies and Viv Edwards, chairman of Broadbridge Heath Parish Council, urged residents to put their name forward for election.

Meanwhile the chairman said she and others were looking forward to Monday’s meeting to discuss the future of Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre, and had nothing but praise for the patience of the current consultants. (see page 17)

For more information on the development visit www.wickhurstgreen.com