LETTER: More land for ‘Crawsham’?

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Political Editor, Joshua Powling, reported that a review of Cllr Vickers’ Horsham Development Planning Framework (HDPF) could begin later this year (2.2.17, p20).

The controversial HDPF was pushed through council by leader Cllr Ray Dawe and his chief planner Cllr Claire Vickers in November 2015. The HDPF sees 2,750 homes and an industrial park north of the A264 when hitherto Southwater had been the chosen strategic site. It is possible that in addition to a crematorium at North Horsham there will also be a commercial and residential waste incinerator within yards of a proposed junior school.

Following the Enquiry in Public in November 2014, the Planning Inspector, Mr Salter, stated that Horsham District Council (HDC) should review its local housing plan in three years.

I note that in Mr Powling’s report an unnamed ‘spokesman for HDC’ said: ‘it [the local plan]’ will need to address a strategy for development including any additional housing numbers and potential locations up to 2036’.

Was this Cllr Vickers? Why can’t the officer or cabinet member be open about this – an issue that will further impact of the already overcrowded and inadequate infrastructure that is still Horsham?

This all comes at the time that Crawley’s MP Henry Smith called in Parliament last month for Crawley to be designated City status. Crawley has seen exponential growth in recent years and in the HDPF Horsham took hundreds of Crawley’s unallocated housing requirements under the ‘duty to co-operate’ since Crawley has essentially no more land to grow.

Residents were warned in November 2015 (WSCT online) by principled councillors Bailey, Baldwin, Britten, Burgess, Dancer, Hogben, Kitchen, Relleen, Torn, Mitchell and Murphy that if Cllr Vickers’ housing plan went through that: ‘the strong boundary created by the A264 bypass will be lost forever and will bring about the creation of ‘Crawsham’, a sprawl across the bypass joining Horsham to Crawley’.

Liberty has further land options in North Horsham, which including the current allocated site, and beyond, could take North Horsham in the future to a total of 4,500 homes - and so Cllr Vickers could choose to allocate further homes in the revisions of the local plan beyond the proposed site boundary. Of course an alternative is that Cllr Vickers allocates housing in her own ward of Southwater.

Now that Henry Smith has let the ‘cat out of the bag’ in declaring Crawley’s ambitions for city status - which will only bring accelerated growth, Cllr Dawe and Cllr Vickers must urgently tell Horsham residents where further land is to be developed in HDC’s local plan review. Will the boundary of Horsham town be further extended? If so, to where exactly?

Dr Geoffrey Richardson

Tennyson Close, Horsham

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