There have been numerous descriptions as to what the term ‘greenbelt land’ means, but a quick look round Broadbridge Heath and Southwater proves that in reality it means precisely nothing at all.
As the people of Southwater lose their last vista of our beautiful Sussex green and pleasant farmland, the roadside trees already cut down and the ancient hedges grubbed out, they face a summer of traffic hold ups, dust and dirt, noise and disruption.
Southwater as a hamlet is not particularly old.
Its development as such didn’t really start until the late eighteenth century when the roads were improved for mail coach travel and Southwater was suitably placed for a staging post on the road from London to the south coast.
With regular transport available for travelling longer distances to work it became possible for townspeople to live in the countryside but still work in the town; the commuter age had arrived.
This further developed in the middle of the nineteenth century with the coming of the railway which also promoted local industry.
Following WW II with ever increasing traffic a much needed bypass round Southwater for the A 24 afforded political opportunists the common excuse for infill building development.
Ancient farmland had to give to a new form of urbanisation creating a Horsham suburbia to one side of the hamlet.
To serve the many new inhabitants a municipal type park was created, together with a village shopping centre of somewhat alien European design, dominated by a large car park, sans public toilet, and a new public house resembling a fire station.
An end without tribute, apart from a statue of a dinosaur, perhaps under the circumstances fitting, of the hamlet that never quite made it to becoming a village.
Southwater, always having been a place of evolution, again strides ahead towards the unimaginable, apart from in the minds of the politicians and their developer friends and relations who see their immediate future catered for while they contemplate on finding justifiable reasons for further devastation of our ever shrinking rural idyll.
In the interest of civilisation the natural world that gave mankind life and sustenance is now, it seems, dispensable, as in this case are the existing inhabitants of Southwater, for should they not like it they are free to leave for pastures new, as some might well so do.
Time will tell when the full impact becomes manifest with hundreds more vehicles clogging the roads, with the unavoidable increased emissions, air and light pollution, the crammed shops and water shortages, the lack of school facilities, the ever lengthening times to see a doctor or secure a medical appointment, and a growing crime rate as our shrinking police force is stretched beyond its capability.
It would be difficult to believe that there are so many people in Southwater waiting for a house, so where will the hundreds of new inhabitants be coming from?
A question the politicians would not dare to answer and one the existing population would rather not think about despite having watched them on their migratory march towards us on the television news, not forgetting that millions of them are already here.
It is of course all part of the ‘Grand Plan’ which we, as EU citizens, being subject to the demands, terms and conditions of our citizenship, are obliged to support; although not a lot of people know that.
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