LETTER: Planning game of pass-the-parcel

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I support councillor David Skipp’s call for scrutiny of Horsham District Council’s current housing strategy (WSCT 16th January). This is why:

None of our communities wants a massive development on its doorstep but we cannot stop many thousands of new houses being built somewhere in our area.

It is therefore vital that the alternatives are carefully weighed against each other.

Instead, choosing where to put the houses has become a game of pass-the-parcel: Southwater fought an effective campaign against expansion there; the campaign against Mayfield New Town is gathering pace, strongly supported by the two rural MPs; the current target is North Horsham -which was ruled out in the past, but has now been included in the Draft Planning Framework with very little justification as to why it is better than the alternatives.

So, now it is Horsham’s turn to fight against 2,500 (at least) new houses north of the bypass.

But politics stacks the odds against Horsham town residents.

The team in charge is led by a Southwater councillor, Claire Vickers, and the majority of Horsham district councillors are from the outlying districts who will naturally tend to prefer keeping any new housing in Horsham town.

Not only this, but our MP in Horsham, Francis Maude, is the Cabinet Office Minister in a government keen to get more houses built and he has refused to get involved even while his neighbouring MPs have taken their fight against an alternative location to the Houses of Parliament.

I, along with a majority of the almost 2,000 people who responded to the consultation and many other residents, believe there are serious flaws in the Draft Planning Framework.

We must ensure that April’s final Planning Framework document does not lumber us with a flawed, developer-led plan in North Horsham simply because it is politically more expedient than other options.

RUTH FLETCHER

Ashleigh Road, Horsham