Heritage areas now at risk

I REFER to your article ‘Family home refusal over-ruled’ on page six of the County Times of December 1. This decision creates a dangerous precedent that threatens the status of conservation areas generally.

The planning application for a substantial family dwelling to be built on the site of a carport at number 28 Wimblehurst Road was unanimously rejected twice by Horsham councillors.

Their main objections were that it was overdevelopment of the plot and that it would fail to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area.

Additionally it was deemed to be unneighbourly in its bulk and proximity to the home next door. The application was also objected to by all close neighbours to the address.

Despite all these objections by councillors and neighbours, the inspector (based in Bristol), decided to ignore strong local views and grant permission to inbuild with a new dwelling, filling a narrow gap with a large modern property.

Clearly central government planning policy, on which the inspector presumably made his decision, is now to allow any nook or cranny to be built on and even conservation area status offers no protection.

This precedent seems to sweep away the preservation of our historic streetscape up and down the country and if unchecked will badly damage heritage areas forever.

I do hope our politicians think again and begin to place more value on the local built environment and the pleasure it can provide for all our lives.

IAN DOCKREAY

Wimblehurst Road, Horsham