We see that Horsham District Council is to advise residents on how they are to be involved in the planning process, through a ‘Statement of Community Involvement’ (SCI).
That comes after a decision to terminate HDC SPAG meetings in public and after consultation on the Horsham District Planning Framework (HDPF) - when many concerns were not fully addressed.
During that consultation, serious doubts were cast on the HDPF’s unrealistic 20 year housing targets of over 750 pa. That was after many thousands of houses (approved by HDC) had not been built and when the age of first time buyers was approaching 40 years.
When such (unattainable) targets are inevitably not met, the Planning Inspector tends to rule in favour of speculative applications. Thus if the targets are not properly adjusted for economic and market factors, we will see even more inappropriate development and inadequate infrastructure.
So we must ask, ‘how will the Statement of Community Involvement overcome such problems and address the aspirations of residents?’, which is only what we were promised under ‘Localism’.
The issue of new guidance on consultation, without addressing those issues, would look like a cynical exercise.
Arun Road, Billingshurst
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