LETTER: Only one new railway station

Your letters
Your letters

HDC Leader Ray Dawe’s Agenda for the meeting for his Cabinet cabal on January 28, 2016 shows Item “6d): Report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and Development on the Horsham Place Plan (part of the West Sussex Growth Plan)” at page 29. This is a report from the district’s top ‘planner’ – Cllr Claire Vickers.

Page 55 (page 17 of the Draft Horsham Place Plan) shows:

Key to unlocking the potential of North Horsham is a comprehensive travel plan for rail, roads and public transport focusing on connectivity to the town centre. The strategic site was located off the A264 to make it well connected to key locations as well as Horsham Town Centre. Stakeholder engagement has emphasised the importance of a good connected bus route between the new development, the town centre and West of Horsham. Parking is also a key issue with calls for a Park and Ride offer in the new development.

The Horsham Parkway railway station is very important to the North of Horsham development however the delivery of the strategic development is not dependent on it. Plans for the station include a 600 space car park and a park and ride opportunity for the town centre. The final decision regarding the location of a new railway station will sit with the Secretary of State for Transport. Delivery of a station at North of Horsham could deliver a step change in the accessibility and desirability of the site to attract business and support the housing growth.

HDC (and WSCC) have repeatedly been told by Network Rail that only one new station will be permitted between Horsham and Crawley and that would be subject to the closure of Faygate and the down-grading of services at the recently extended Littlehaven station. There would be no fast trains to London via Littlehaven, leaving residents access only to a slow stopping service.

Cllr Vickers’ Report to her dear leader’s Cabinet is partial in stating ‘The Horsham Parkway railway station is very important to the North of Horsham development’ without any mention of the station requirement at Kilnwood Vale or the implications for Littlehaven.

A new station might be ‘a step change in the accessibility and desirability’ North of Horsham (a development for which there is not even a Planning Application let alone approval) and would definitely be ‘a step change in the accessibility and desirability’ of Kilnwood Vale (a development long since approved by HDC and which is well under way; many people having already paid for and set up homes on the basis that a station would be provided there).

I wonder how many councillors are aware of what is going on in the Cabinet – and who are the driving forces behind such advice to Cabinet? This partial advice should be questioned in full council - before Crest Homes and residents at Kilnwood Vale join in a legal action against HDC.

Since the Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre debacle first came to light I have stopped expecting the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth from our council.

C. MORRIS

Tennyson Close, Horsham

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