LETTER: Developers stay in the driving seat

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Unelected Planning Inspectors continue to permit indiscriminate development, because HDC has not met its arbitrary (five year land supply) housing target of 650 new dwellings per annum.

Anybody involved in the planning process will know that and that many HDC decisions on planning applications have been overturned by an Inspector.

Notwithstanding that, HDC has agreed an HDPF including the same 20 years target, when only around 450 pa were built over eight years before the recession.

The ruling gang (Cllrs Dawe, Vickers, Croft, Rae, Baldwin, O’Connell, Chidlow, Circus and Rowbottom) knows that developers will not build, unless they can make a profit and that HDC has little influence over the rate of building. That much should have been clear from the fact that around 8,000 houses had HDC planning approval at one stage, but they were not being built.

So, why did Cllr Dawe and his Tory colleagues include an unattainable target in the HDPF?

Perhaps it was in fear of the Inspector, or their own Planning Minister Boles that caused them to leave the Inspector with a continuing excuse to over-ride HDC’s judgement and to permit speculative planning applications. The ruling group may thus hope to wash (or wring) their hands at the despoilation of our beautiful countryside.

Alternatively, is it possible that some councillors did not understand the reasons why HDC is behind its target? That is surely hard to believe.

Well, at a recent Scrutiny Meeting, a number of members proposed that an investigation be carried out as to why HDC is behind its five-year land supply.

From that we can only conclude that some members voted on 30 April to continue with an unattainable 20 year target of 650 dwellings pa without understanding the background and the consequences!

In any event, some seem to have colluded with the coalition government to keep developers in the driving seat, whilst others did not fully inform themselves, before voting on the HDPF.

In any event they have failed the people who elected them and they have done nothing to sustain the integrity of local democracy.

Dr GEOFFREY RICHARDSON

Tennyson Close, Horsham