LETTER: Alternatives to North Horsham

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Ref- Horsham District Planning Framework – Time to consider all the Alternative and Omission Sites.

Reading the recent comments in your pages from councillor Claire Vickers and leader Ray Dawe, one could have been misled into thinking that the Planning Inspector had all but rubber stamped the HDC Planning Framework.

However, this is far from reality, in fact, the Inspector’s way forward presents councillors with a very good opportunity to revisit the alternative and additional sites, and completely remove the North Horsham site allocation; in order to arrive at the required increase in housing numbers set by the Inspector.

These alternative sites include: West of Ifield (up to 3,000 homes), Faygate (2,000 to 3,000 homes), Chesworth Farm (1,500 homes), West of Southwater (2,750 homes), Adversane/North Heath (up to 4,000 homes) and Extension to Kilnwood Vale (circa 750 homes); plus the new Boldings Green development North of the A24 between Warnham and Capel (up to 5,000 homes).

I would urge readers to review the excellent article jointly written by councillors Peter Burgess, Christian Mitchell, Liz Kitchen, Josh Murphy and Simon Torn, published on page 15 of WSCT Jan 1st issue, which documents several of the key remarks highlighted in the Planning Inspector’s draft report, in particular: ‘the larger alternative / omission sites (sites previously rejected by the Council) have NO obvious general or particular landscape, ecological, highways or other infrastructure reasons to prevent a higher rate of development (para 16)’, which is contrary to the Council’s Sustainability Appraisal.

So it is a level playing field and there is no ‘preferred site’ on these criteria.

He also stated that ‘There appears to be no reason to doubt the strong interest from other developers including major house-builders, for additional housing sites to be allocated in the Plan, deliverable over the Plan period (Para 17).’

So, instead of trying to rush through a modification to the existing Plan, prior to the elections, to ‘make up the housing numbers’, including the suggestion of squeezing more houses into the same hectares on land North of Horsham; the council has a duty to its electorate and its cross-border collaborators (for whom it has offered to take up some of their housing allocation) to go back to the drawing board, remove the North Horsham site completely, and re-construct the site allocations to deliver the right plan for the Horsham District.

Let Kilnwood Vale get the Parkway Station that it needs and has progressed to stage 3 approval.

We keep hearing those crocodile tears ‘None of us want this development North of Horsham’- so now is the chance to change your minds and get it right this time.

Come the elections in May, we will ensure that we have elected councillors to office that will truly support their electorate and create a balanced Strategic Plan that preserves the character, and meets the needs of, the entire Horsham District, and is neither politically driven, nor developer-led.

G. CONSTABLE

The Castle, Horsham