LETTER: A few suggestions they won’t like

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Liberty Property Trust, the American property development company, must be worried about its plans to develop north of Horsham. It has just invested a lot of money in producing a big glossy booklet and paid the Royal Mail to deliver it to 12,000 households.

Liberty wants the people of North Horsham, who are overwhelmingly against their monster money-maker, to come up with a cute name for it. They might get a few suggestions they won’t like, despite pretty pictures of green fields and trees.

In return, perhaps they could have put some facts in the ‘fact file’ page. I feel like complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority about what they have written.

“A world class business park… The business park will create up to 4,000 new permanent quality jobs…. is essential for the District” – how? Big businesses want great travel connections, shorter journey times to London, and other factors that make Gatwick, Crawley an inherently more attractive option.

Then they leave – as this town knows. Even Manor Royal is half-empty at the moment. Much better to continue Horsham’s success in supporting small and medium-sized businesses that employ local people and stay here.

“The majority of the existing office space in Horsham is poor quality and has been vacant because it has been ageing”. There is 250,000ft2 of empty business space in Horsham, but agents class almost half of that as ‘churnable’, so fit for immediate re-letting. I believe we should be redeveloping the rest of the brownfield land within the existing town perimeter: Liberty is just after a big, easy site for profit.

“No other housing site is capable of delivering [a high quality business park]”. No reason why you would want or expect a housing site to have a business park in its midst either, so ‘so what?’ If it is so desirable, I’m sure it would be being done at Kilnwood Vale, Wickhurst Green or Highwood, to name just three sites capable of delivering such a business park.

“A new parkway railway station will be created”. It is highly unlikely that Network Rail will agree to a station on the Horsham Gatwick line about one mile from Littlehaven, itself recently upgraded for £4.5million. Network Rail’s own guidelines of criteria that must be met for a new station would exclude this.

“A 600 space car park” alongside the fantasy station? I suppose they might build that, but don’t expect it to be free!

“Green Space will become accessible”… No it won’t, it will be destroyed by the very buildings Liberty wants to profit from. The existing footpaths have some protection but many acres of ancient woodland and ecological habitats will go. A Walt Disney photo of a cricket ground is no substitute.

“Crawsham is a myth”. This development will reduce the gap by 15 per cent. Once the boundary of the A264 has been breached there is nothing to stop further sprawl, as noted in the district council’s previous strategies. Already there is talk of another 1,000 houses at Kilnwood Vale on the western boundary.

STEPHEN FULLER

Primrose Copse, Horsham