LETTER: Door left open to speculative plans

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In case some Horsham district councillors are tempted to distance themselves from the major developments in North Horsham, it may be worth re-capping on events.

In 2013 HDC proposed 2,500 houses and building in the strategic gap, alongside a reduced number of dwellings in Southwater. This was linked to a large business park for Horsham, in the hope of increasing HDC’s Business Rate income.

Sadly the business park proposal was based more on hope than on market research. While HDC hopes for 4,000 high value new jobs, market data suggests that the new businesses are more likely to comprise warehousing or distribution and the like. So the workers will not be able to afford to buy houses locally and will likely have to commute in to Horsham.

Thus there seems to be a significant risk that, when the 500,000 sq ft can’t be let for employment, we will see even more houses in North Horsham, with unplanned demand on local infrastructure and profits taken offshore by the developer.

The National Planning Policy was supposed to help meet the aspirations of the people, through Localism, but instead it put developers in the driving seat. The unqualified 20 year target of 650 houses pa only made things worse and left the door open for the Inspector to impose an even higher target, leading to more speculative development. In fact the proposals seem to have had little to do with the aspirations of Horsham’s residents, or with the Localism that Government Ministers promised.

NEIL WHITEAR

Chairman, UKIP Horsham Branch, Timber Mill, Southwater