LETTER: Area is already fully developed

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I write to object to any further development of North Horsham. This should be excluded from Horsham District Council’s Preferred Strategy.

Having lived in North Horsham for thirty years, I can say with conviction that this area has already had far too much development imposed upon it. As it stands, the area is fully developed beyond even a stretched limit, and any further development will be of severe detriment to the existing residential parts, infrastructure, surrounding countryside, and all who live and work here.

The A264 North Horsham Bypass forms a worthy boundary between town and country, and both will suffer greatly if this divide is violated. Furthermore, the green belt strategic gap between Horsham and Crawley is equally essential.

Also (assuming that this amount of development is even remotely necessary?), there are many areas far more suitable for development, including brown field and non-green belt areas, some of which could actually benefit (with care). Further development in and around North Horsham must be stopped, for good.

This proposal will not reduce the carbon footprint, as has been stated it will on the grounds of proximity of residences to work places. There are already empty commercial and industrial plots in Horsham, so the proposed industrial area will become an empty wasteland, a catastrophe in itself, whilst the proposed residential areas will, in fact, worsen the carbon footprint by causing already bad traffic flow problems to become catastrophic because of thousands of new residents trying to get to and home from places where employment already exists.

For the same reasons, there will be no sustainable economic benefit from this proposal. Many existing residents will also suffer greatly from loss in property value.

Consequently, both the new development and the existing residential areas will become very bad areas in which to live, with all the economic, environmental and social problems that this will bring. This will be exacerbated by undesirable underpasses, road extensions, moved catchment areas and disruption to public and private transport, all combining to turn workable existing communities into a vast, soulless conurbation, deprived of identity. This mistake has been made so often since at least the 1950s and 1960s, that it is inconceivable that the lesson has not been learnt.

Add to this the loss of a vast tract of beautiful countryside, including valuable and much needed agricultural land and woodland, and it becomes obvious that this proposal is not the outcome of any intelligent town planning or any other appropriate thought process. This land also includes well used and much-loved recreational routes and areas for the existing Horsham population, North Horsham especially, so its loss will blight even further the lives of thousands of people.

At the time of the construction of the A264 North Horsham Bypass, previous Horsham District Council members had pledged that this would remain the Northern Boundary of Horsham, and that the land north of this will constitute part of the strategic gap between Horsham and Crawley, thereby enabling each to maintain its own identity.

All persons benefiting from this pledge, whether from Horsham, Crawley, or the countryside between, expect this pledge to be kept.

This area is so valuable, precious and strategically important, in its present state, that it should not be ruined and wasted on what would be an enormous folly. There is no business interest for an industrial estate in this area, there are far more appropriate areas for residential development, the road systems will not function because of overloading the routes in and out of North Horsham (A264, routes to A23, and the country lanes and villages), and public transport systems proposed will be overloaded also. This proposal is of no benefit, but very much to the detriment of the existing residing and/or working population of North Horsham and surrounding countryside, nor will it be desirable for any proposed incomers. The adverse knock-on effects will, in fact, irreparably spoil Horsham and the surrounding areas generally.

It makes sense to spread the development across the district, at suitable locations such as these. Back in the mid/late 1990s, I was a member of a citizens’ jury set up by Horsham District Council at that time, to discuss how to deal with the development being imposed upon the district. As I recall, this was one of the main conclusions that the jury came to. The jury comprised persons from all walks of life, and from all parts of the district yet, as I recall, this conclusion was unanimous or, at least very near so. Such locations can share the burden of development in part, and parkland and recreational use.
Other suitable locations to take a share of the overall development are:

- Southwater. There is already a previous proposal for 2,750 homes here, with a much-needed new secondary school where it is needed – Southwater, not green field land north of Horsham.

- Chesworth Farm.

- Rookwood Golf Course.

- Searle’s Yard.

- Novartis site.

- Fire Station site.

- Land adjacent to railways.

Some of these areas can work individually in their own right, but considered together, rather than in isolation, they can complement each other regarding funding, amenities, recreation, social, community and the like.

For the reasons stated herein before, and many more than can be mentioned here, this proposal, and the general idea to develop green field, green belt, strategic gap land North of Horsham, outside the town boundary, is a very bad proposal, probably the worst possible for Horsham, and should be rejected immediately, for good. It is not needed, not wanted, totally ill-conceived, and has no merit whatsoever.

There are far better options available, which should be implemented instead.

Please object to this appalling idea, by writing to the forty-four councillors via this link: -http//www.horsham.gov.uk/1632.aspx

Otherwise, this could be passed in September or early October.

R. K. Alexander

Goosegreen Close, Horsham