LETTER: Explanation for gift to Liberty?

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So, the Planning Inspector Geoffrey Salter, has decided to impose a further 2,000 houses on the Horsham District and has told HDC to rethink its Local Plan over the next six months.

Claire Vickers states that there will be no more land allocated for these extra houses at the North Horsham site. She does not however state that these extra houses will not be crammed into the existing North Horsham site. As the proposed new railway station on the site is not likely to be built due to recent investment by Network Rail into Littlehaven Halt and the new station at Kilnwood Vale, there is a good chance that the adjacent industrial warehousing area will be scrapped and the area filled with the extra 2,000 houses.

Mrs Vickers has stated that she will again hold the Planning Policy Advisory Group meetings in private thereby once again denying our local councillors and the public any input into the discussions.

Liberty, the American developers of the North Horsham site, have been let off paying any Community Infrastructure Levy ( CIL ) which would contribute funding for necessary infrastructure improvements in the surrounding area, because of the extra costs involved in providing the necessary infrastructure within the North Horsham site.

If this is the case, then why on earth was this site chosen in the first place? There must be other sites in the area where HDC could charge the normal £125 per sqm CIL thereby saving the council tax payers several million pounds.

In the WSCT Jan 15th Claire Vickers stated: “However, we have long made clear the reality of the situation where the council either goes along with the Government’s requirements as laid out in the NPPF, and tries to extract the best deal it can for the district, or it stays in a position where it is unable to stop developers putting in applications for many more houses without any certainty of being able to extract the best community benefit.”

How on earth has she extracted the best community benefit from Liberty when they are being charged absolutely nothing for the Community Infrastructure Levy at the North Horsham site?

I think local council tax payers deserve an explanation for this apparent gift to Liberty and I invite Claire Vickers to provide this explanation through the columns of your newspaper.

Roll on May 7 when we can vote in a new council and restore honest democracy to Horsham.

ROGER BAKER

New Moorhead Drive, Horsham