Although I am a parish and district councillor, I stress the following views are my own and I am keeping an open mind on all the issues involved.
The County Times report on the HDC planning committee meetings raises two interesting points
The first is that some members voted for the prosed large development in Billingshurst, even though they felt it unsuitable.
Their reason was that, if they did not, the developer would appeal and win.
I hear this argument fairly often these days and it is patent nonsense because it is not a planning issue and therefore should not be used in deciding a planning matter.
If there are sufficient arguments against a proposal, such as sustainability, traffic issues, green field intrusion, outside a built up boundary etc, then it should be rejected.
Even if a developer does appeal, he is unlikely to be successful, provided the planning arguments against it are sound and verified.
The second is, that although local members and the parish council are against any development, the Chamber of Commerce appear to be in favour.
They cite that development, generates money and this could be used to refurbish the centre of the town.
This in itself would attract more business etc, etc.
There is considerable merit in this argument and it should be looked at when considering very necessary future develop-ment in Horsham District.
The current proposal, now out for consultation, contains one option only; to build 2,500 houses north of the existing Horsham town boundary, on extensive farmland and on the wrong side of the bypass.
There is no real infrastruc-ture; the promised hospital is no longer an option; the new railway station is undeliverable and the earmarked supermarket is likely to go to another site.
Its only advantage is expediency, which, as all previous reports note that its timescale is outside the vital five year land supply requirement, is no longer a viable argument.
The requirement driving HDC’s needs is a shortfall of 1,000 houses. The 2,500 proposal for North Horsham is from the developer’s requirements, not ours.
So, now is the time to look at alternative sites. Several have been proposed within Horsham itself such as Searle’s Yard, the disused railway sidings at Horsham station, the Novartis site and a number of others.
Further development at Billingshurst, coupled with an east/west bypass, improvements to the A29 and refurbishment of the railway station, could be a suitable alternative and revitalise an attractive local town immeasurably.
(Con) Horsham district councillor for Holbrook West, Haybarn Drive, Horsham