I read with interest Horsham MP Francis Maude’s piece ‘Huge impact of second Gatwick runway’ (County Times Horsham edition 19.12.13). ‘The second concern is the need for much-improved local infrastructure and for many more houses to be built in an area where local councils are already struggling to meet the targets...’
It would be good to see Mr Maude taking a firm line on the Government’s strategy to build as many houses as quickly as possible in the belief that it will support an economic recovery.
All over the country, Local Plans are being turned down by inspectors often because housing targets are too low. Developers are getting planning permission to build on green land despite council planning departments refusing permission.
Infrastructure is already creaking at the seams and there is no guarantee that even though developers include schools, railway stations, clinics in their plans that these will be provided.
Most of the houses built will be larger dwellings (greater profit for developers) not the housing association accommodation needed by first time buyers, especially young couples. It is a developer-led strategy making a complete mockery of Localism.
But we never hear our MP up in arms about this chaotic situation. Is he in favour of the despoliation of our district to provide the wrong sort of houses in the wrong places?
He prefers to say it is a district council matter. But why can’t he as our MP have equally strong views as the two Mid Sussex MPs. They have very vocal opinions (especially about a new town) and arranged a special debate in Westminster Hall about New Towns where they could sound off.
Where was our MP in this debate? Most of his electorate may lie in the rural parts of his constituency and he may feel that by taking no part he will regain his seat in 18 months’ time with their support.
But he would do well not to ignore those who live in the north of his constituency. If the inspector kicks out the present flawed plan, a rethink might produce a different solution including a new town despite David Cameron’s apparent U turn on this subject. That might influence his voters in the rural south but not in the way he expects.
ELIZABETH BARTNOVSKAYA (Mrs)
Heath Way, Horsham