We can all understand and relate to natural concerns about the impact of the proposed business park at North Horsham. There also seems to be some confusion, largely due to misinformation, about its purpose and benefits to Horsham District. However, the arguments in favour are factually convincing, and can be simply summarised:
1. The developers, Liberty, are planning to build a high quality business park, not an industrial park, which will attract world class businesses and generate local prosperity.
They have already built two fine examples, one in Cambridge and one in Malling in Kent - and for any of your readers who are interested, please visit www.libertyproperty.com or www.kings-hill.com and judge the economic advantage that a similar development would bring to Horsham District.
It is important to add that Liberty’s plans are not pie in the sky, as so many of the suggestions for siting employment land elsewhere, but based on existing land ownership and an impressive track record of delivering outstanding results.
What is more, the proposed location of North Horsham is ideally situated - close to London and Gatwick, the UK’s second largest airport, with an on site railway station, and good road links to the M23 - all adding to a strikingly attractive investment proposition.
2. We have to make greater provision for better paid jobs to support the higher cost of living in the Horsham area, so that younger generations can afford to remain as local residents for the good of our communities.
Like it or not, we live in a world which is changing rapidly with an increasingly older population - the most telling statistic is that around one in five of us can expect to live to be over 100. So we have to plan now to build communities that are generationally balanced, where children, parents and grandparents can support each other.
This is why the larger corporations that Liberty will be able to attract to locate in North Horsham are so important, since they will be able to offer the higher salaries to recruit local employees that they will increasingly require.
At present our younger residents are forced to leave to find both jobs and housing, to the benefit of other local economies. We need the higher quality of location that North Horsham offers to retain their talents, and together with our higher levels of skills, education and quality of life, attract jobs and economic growth here, rather than elsewhere .
3. Finally, we have to continue to create economic growth within our District, and a new high quality business park in North Horsham would be the most acceptable and dependable contribution to our future success.
Growth is not only the Government’s top priority, it is also an imperative for local residents. Horsham’s remarkable quality of life, which is so widely recognised, has been built upon its economic strength.
The pedestrianisation of the town centre, the quality and variety of its shops and restaurants, the excellence of its services - have all been underpinned by the District’s hardworking residents and businesses. We have to ensure that we build for the growth and employment opportunities that will provide increasing standards of superior lifestyle for the good of all our futures.
(Con) district councillor for Pulborough and Coldwaltham and cabinet member for the local economy, Horsham District Council, North Street, Horsham