LETTER: Absurd plan will ruin communities

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I write in response to Ray Dawe’s article: ‘The unelected continue to over-rule the elected’.

Can Mr Dawe evade the anger of local residents over the plan to waste the greenfields north of the A264 (also the Strategic Gap between Horsham and Crawley) on a pointless industrial estate of 500,000 sq ft, 2,500-4,500 houses, a supermarket, and a school which is needed elsewhere, instead of using any one of the many other available and much more suitable sites, the development of which will not wreck chaos on local traffic, would not destroy local train services, functioning school catchment areas, street safety and so forth, and would not be such a grand waste of HDC money?

There is a multitude of reasons why this site is unsuitable, in particular as there are so many others to choose from. Choosing another site does not jeopardise Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and does not create Crawsham.

Residents know that there are many alternative sites, these already benefiting from good infrastructure, flexible options for access via several roads (rather than one and only already congested road!), sites within reach of good amenities, sites that do not require the danger and crime that underpasses bring to a residential neighbourhood ( this idea alone a disaster!), and the expense and the waste that all of this brings to HDC’s supposedly strained budget!

We know that this proposal is unjustified economically or in terms of town planning, and thus could only be entirely politically motivated, for lack of any other apparent reason for making the greenfields north of A264 into the preferred option.

This absurd plan is the ruination of not only Horsham, but also Rusper, Colgate, Faygate, Warnham and Old Holbrook. Mr Dawe - this idea is the undoing of all the good work of your predecessors at HDC. Horsham thrives on being a good place to live, on being a safe, contained town, on small business, local farming and unique identity, and for the future, on considering the environment!

Further, residents are justifiably angry that this outrageous proposal was released in August, when people are on holiday, with only two additional weeks granted for objections. We have been ambushed by the elected.

Mr Dawe – so you have no powers? Why are you here, then? Do we need to remind you that councils need responsible councillors, who will work for the benefit of the entire district, wholeheartedly, with due care of duty and understanding of the consequence of their decisions? Perhaps indeed this plan will end up before members of Central government, or be heard by a judge. Residents are prepared for the effort - but what a sad waste of public money.

You might recall that politicians and residents alike hold in high regard the work of your predecessors, Martin Pearson, and of the previous HDC leaders. They are credited for making Horsham and vicinity into the well-functioning, prosperous place that it now is. They made intelligent decisions, showing a talent for town planning, which is at the heart of economic planning and life for any area. (There was also pledges made at the time the A264 was built, which still make every sense, in light of all the other available sites - just to remind you that you are also breaking solemn promises).

You, Mr Dawe, irrespective of whether you wish to deny responsibility, and this is built, will be credited by all for the ruination of our town, our economy and nearby villages.

This proposal, its low and unsubstantiated quality, ignoring all of the obviously better alternatives, will follow your political career for its duration, Mr Dawe.

If built, it will serve as a perpetual reminder of decisions made by you, Mr Dawe, as you were HDC leader at the time. Nobody will forget – we will be dealing with the effects of this daily and it will keep on costing money and causing problems. This plan is the ruination of all that is good about Horsham and vicinity, including our functioning catchment areas, transport links, roads, the safety on our streets and the character and appeal of the entire district. Perhaps, from any councillor’s point of view, it is best to start hoping that that this plan is not put into action, and does not become a living reminder of decisions made whilst at HDC.

To object to this ill-conceived and unsubstantiated plan, which presents North Horsham as the only available site in our area for housing and demands also a 500,000 sq ft industrial and an unnecessary school ( school is needed in Southwater, not in Horsham!) go online and enter your comments into open consultation docs: http://horsham.limehouse.co.uk/portal/planning/

Also, write to 44 of your local Cllrs : http://www.horsham.gov.uk/1632.aspx

I. ROHVARGER (Mrs) BES, Urban Planning and Architecture, B.Arch (1995)

Pondtail Road, Horsham