LETTER: 4,500 new homes puts ‘vision’ at risk

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So, Andrew Blevins of Liberty Property Trust has unveiled his ‘green vision’ for North Horsham. It’s very kind of the company to leave a few bits of undeveloped land on the 600-acre site.

I think the majority of Horsham residents would prefer to leave the whole lot ‘green’; that is to say, not concreted over with housing and a probably-redundant business park.

I noted with some wry amusement that Mr Blevins referred to their King’s Hill, Kent development and said it showed their commitment to providing services and facilities to help a community thrive.

Tell that to the King’s Hill development residents who had so many complaints about lack of facilities and infrastructure when that development was ‘finished’ by Liberty.

At the Government Inspector’s hearings Mr Blevins said that the complaints had since been dealt with and there were no problems remaining at King’s Hill.

Regrettably, the Government Inspector did not press him for details on this, but I thought Mr Blevins looked a little uncomfortable when the problems at King’s Hill were raised. As well he might, because many of the problems experienced at King’s Hill could so easily repeat themselves at North Horsham.

Locals at King’s Hill complained about inadequate consultation; inadequate parking facilities; roads too narrow for emergency vehicles; traffic congestion in and around the development and inadequate public transport provision.

Add to that sad litany the facts that Liberty’s original carrot of 40 per cent affordable housing was reduced to a lamentable 17.5 per cent and their landmark business park was hugely under-occupied and we can see why Liberty’s ‘green vision’ for North Horsham is less than welcome here.

Apparently Liberty will be distributing leaflets around the area. No doubt the leaflet will extol the virtues of their plans. Let’s hope it’s more honest than the one they distributed earlier, which had the Advertising Standards Authority upholding two claims against it for getting things wrong.

Just reverting to the matter of the ‘nature park’ and ‘green space’ at the North Horsham development, I wonder how long these will remain in the ‘vision’ when Ray Dawe, Claire Vickers and Liberty together decide that the additional 2,000 dwellings required by the Government Inspector had better be poked in somewhere on the 600-acre site.

Liberty originally lobbied for 4,500 dwellings on the North Horsham site. Unfortunately they may succeed in getting permission for exactly what they originally wanted. I wonder if they will still be able to get away with paying zero Community Infrastructure Levy if that scenario comes to pass?

Just one more thought: Liberty assiduously avoid mentioning the elephant in the room – that is the close proximity of the A24 to this massive development. This dangerous, single carriageway, which is the main route from Horsham to Central London, is already heavily congested. Liberty haven’t offered to cough up any funding to improve or realign this road between Great Daux and Capel.

On page 72 of last week’s paper a short article states that West Sussex County Council intends to sell land and properties at Warnham, which were originally acquired by the council some years ago in preparation for the A24 Horsham to Capel Highway Improvement Scheme (a scheme which has been in the pipeline for at least the past 40 years).

Might I suggest that before they rush to sell off these properties and land, they delve into their archives, dust off the well-developed plans for realigning the road and see if they can’t be reinstated. If the North Horsham development does go ahead, the A24 as it stands will be totally inadequate.

SHEILA WHITE

Dorking Road, Warnham