‘Kill Billingshurst to regenerate it’

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I REFER to Martin Spurrier’s letter of July 21 and as I have been a resident of the village for the past 50 years, I feel his comments are disingenuous.

He obviously feels redeveloping, sorry, regenerating, Jengers Mead will solve everything for the village and people will once again flock to Billingshurst for retail therapy!

He seems to forget that it was the Chamber of Commerce that pressed for the bypass. Yes, it removed some 10,000 vehicles a day but it reduced the passing trade by something like 40 per cent.

Not content with that, HDC proceeded to ‘waste’ £500,000-plus to do an unwanted make-over of the High Street.

It was sanitised, but it had the desired effect, of putting two more shops out of business, because the masterplan is to do the same to Billingshurst as was done with Southwater, so it is necessary to ‘kill’ the village first, to regenerate it.

That is why, in the last decade, we have seen an explosion in self-interested, unelected bodies, that ‘cosy’ up to the developers, in the hope of getting their hands on lovely 106 monies, otherwise known as planning gain.

The reality is, people are being forced out of shopping in Billingshurst for a variety of reasons, car parking charges/clamping, shops closing through lack of support and interested parties meddling.

You could rebuild Jengers Mead at a cost of 200-plus acres of arable land, which helps to feed us, but what Martin Spurrier has failed to factor into the equation is the internet.

So let us not sacrifice our countryside for unwanted housing; it won’t be our children who will be buying them, because they will be four or five bedroom houses, to meet the international demand and further the wealth of developers, solicitors and estate agents, who live off this growth, at the expense of the community as a whole and the countryside.

I would like to close by saying, this is my own personal opinion.

PAM RANDS

Arun Road, Billingshurst