LETTER: Consultation has been a sham

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We have seen many letters in the past few weeks, seeking evidence to support HDC’s Local Plan for housing development in the district, with a 20 year target of 650 new dwellings per annum, when only 450pa were averaged in the eight years leading up to the recession.

So, as pointed out to Planning Minister Boles (by Cllr Arthur) Local Planning Authorities seem to have been set up to fail with unattainable targets, so that unelected Planning Inspectors PI then have an excuse to permit speculative building on green field and flood prone sites, whilst allowing developers to avoid brown field sites, which can be expensive to clear up.

Why does HDC continue to submit to unattainable targets, without qualification, when it will only leave unelected Planning Inspectors with a continued excuse to permit inappropriate development?

Also, why was the Local Plan put out for public consultation with only one option, when we know that at least one other option was considered but discounted, apparently behind closed doors?

Many new houses around Horsham will inevitably result in higher traffic volumes and will be more likely to increase congestion.

However, we understand that the cost estimates for infrastructure upgrading, are only now being collated when such information should surely have been used, when options were evaluated.

Why is it proposed to allocate 500,000 sq ft of business park in North Horsham, when most businesses in the District are SMEs, whilst some of the 15 large companies are leaving the District, the Business Rate regime is changing and redundant business site acreage seems to be increasing?

Also, if Liberty can’t attract businesses, then will they be allowed to build houses instead and make a big profit on agricultural land, that was previously worth around £1k or £2k per acre and to take the profits offshore?

Why have no companies, other than Liberty shown an interest in the site?

In the circumstances, it is surely inconceivable that residents are only going to have a few days to comment on the final Plan, before it is brought to the April Council Meeting.

It must be clear to all residents by now, that they are being treated with contempt and that their consultation process has been a sham.

NEIL WHITEAR

Chairman, UKIP Horsham Branch, Crawley Road, Horsham