LETTER: Big companies come - and go

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It appears from all the correspondence regarding the proposed North Horsham development that the overwhelming number of correspondents are totally against the project as are my wife and I.

It was interesting to read the article from Adam Walker of Crickmay which was obviously biased in favour of the project as his company represents the American developer.

He says he has worked in Horsham for 22 years so he he may be forgiven for not knowing of the local council making similar comments about ‘embracing the opportunity for Sun Alliance to demolish the town church and many buildings in and around the town centre to make way for their new headquarters which would offer employment and financial gain to the town’.

At the time a number of people were employed but that changed some few years later when the company merged with one from out of the area and many hundreds of people lost their jobs. A large proportion of their flagship offices have been and still remain empty since then.

Looking around the area there have been a number of Crickmay and other company boards advertising small to large commercial properties for sale/let for years so it is difficult to understand why it is felt more needs to be built.

According to their website the American company specialise in leasing office and industrial properties, two of their English developments are office/industrial only.

One is in Manchester, 27,000 sq ft, where 50 per cent had been let according to their 2012 information, the other is in Cambridge where planning consent has been secured for 70 acres of greenbelt land to build 215,000 sq m of industrial/office properties.

Their ‘flagship’ project in Kent was started 21 years ago on the old West Malling airfield, ‘...a mixed use development set in 800 acres of landscaped parkland’.

They have built 800,000 sq ft of business properties (not all let) and have planning consent for a further 1,200,000 sq ft gross, again according to their 2012 information.

The £4 million leisure centre mentioned was built in partnership with Kent County Council 21 years after the development started.

There have not been any signs of proof that ‘…large international companies would want to move into the area…’. Does the fact that Liberty are proposing to develop 500,000 sq ft for industrial use mean that they know something they are not revealing?

Even if they have someone lined up let us not forget what has happened to Sun Alliance, Novartis, Applied Materials, etc.

It would be good if your paper could run a poll on local people which would be a way of us being able to see for ourselves what is thought about the proposal rather than wait until we hear from the council in October.

E. DELGADO

Parry Close, Horsham