LETTER: Sensible use of precious land

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The County Times of March 23 reported on the change of mix and sizes of houses in the North of Horsham development.

In fact, Liberty have changed very little: there is still 70 per cent market housing, with 828, four or five-bedroom detached houses, and a paltry 12.7 per cent affordable rent homes.

All the remainder is known as ‘intermediate housing’, and this is where there has been some tinkering around, following the Housing White Paper.

As Saxon Weald chief executive David Standfast pointed out in his letter, 23rd March, the Government is not currently enabling the building of homes for social rent which many working people need.

Until Gavin Barwell MP, Housing Minister, gets to grips with the need to build homes that people can actually afford to rent, we are stuck with this woeful response to the housing crisis.

What is particularly disingenuous, is that this strategic site was approved in the Horsham District Planning Framework on the basis that it is sustainable as it includes the site for a railway station.

According to the Housing White Paper, there should be ‘a higher density of housing in locations that are well served by public transport (such as around many railway stations)’.

Yet the consultants employed by Liberty claim that ‘extensions to existing settlements lend themselves more to family housing than smaller dwellings’.

Liberty cannot have it both ways; either this development with station can accommodate increased density of housing around the station or, without the station, it is unsustainable.

The Housing Minister needs to call in this application and ensure that what is delivered meets the whole range of housing need, builds a sustainable community and makes sensible use of our precious land.

Frances Haigh

Chair of Horsham and Crawley Liberal Democrats, Winterbourne, Horsham

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