LETTER: Large business space is the past

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In his interview with WSCT (November 7), councillor Roger Paterson (HDC Cabinet Member responsible for the local economy) tries to exploit the plight of redundant Novartis employees by a) suggesting that the council will do ‘everything it can’ to assist them, when everyone knows there is precisely nothing it can do in the anarchic, globalised world economy which his party has led the way in creating over the last 30 years, especially now that the bankrupt state is imposing an ever more draconian squeeze on the public sector, and b) trying to imply that this announced closure might somehow be connected with what he alleges is a desperate shortage of high quality business space in the Horsham area and that this therefore vindicates the council’s decision to promote a large new business park on a greenfield site north of the town.

The very different reality is spelt out in the letter from Chris Morris, appearing in the same issue, which details the total lack of any evidence of the need for new business space in the area and also reveals the apparent lengths to which HDC will go to try and demonstrate the opposite, such as citing a 2006 Employment Land Review (ie, produced well before the start of the recession) rather than a more recent consultants’ report giving a quite different picture.

Your own editorial in the same issue inadvertently undermines councillor Paterson’s case further when it seeks to give him credit for HDC’s successful Microbiz networking initiatives while at the same time pointing to the proposed ‘pioneering’ business park in North Horsham as an indicator of the council’s support for economic development.

Yet this ignores the fact that the Microbiz concept is based on the concept of people running businesses from their own homes with the aid of internet connectivity. If that is the future of enterprise development then clearly large new business space development is the past, especially when there is already substantial overcapacity.

HARRY SHUTT

Allingham Gardens, Horsham