LETTER: Time to rethink district housing

Your letters
Your letters

Your paper over recent months has been reporting groups of concerned residents in different parts of Horsham district objecting to housing developments in their locality.

Much attention, and rightly so, has been given to the protests in North Horsham and West of Horsham over the absence of public consultation and inadequate infrastructure considerations by the Cabinet at Horsham District Council, but you have also reported on other locations having developments imposed on them despite the wishes of local people by Cllr Vickers and the cabinet cabal led by Ray Dawe.

Last week you reported that 200 objections had been gathered from a 60 house project in Mannings Heath. Why won’t Cllrs Vickers, Dawe, and the two town members Roy Cornell (Roffey South) and Adrian Lee (Denne) listen to residents that elected them?

Even if the Inspector confirms in his final report that ‘at least’ 16,000 houses have to be built at 800pa throughout the District by 2031, many residents believe the evidence does not exist to justify such figures.

Even in the boom times prior to 2010, developers in HDC only achieved a max of 450 houses per annum. The 20- year period to build these 16,000 houses started in 2011 and the rate of building has not kept pace with the target.

So even if planning approval and building starts this year, the district target is already over 1,000. Very few of these will be ‘affordable’.

So what happens then? Speculative builders put in planning applications for projects like the one at Mannings Heath and even if HDC refuse – the Inspectorate will over-rule.

Rather than waste energy challenging small projects like Mannings Heath – there is a growing realisation that Cllr Vickers’ 20-year housing plan for the whole of Horsham District is flawed and its lawfulness must be tested in the High Court – for her to answer on oath to her plan’s inadequacies.

It is time now for all of us to come together go to the High Court, get this flawed plan stopped, have new leadership in the council and have a complete rethink about what housing is needed in the whole District and the infrastructure needed to support it.

VALERIE WISE

Owlscastle Close, Horsham

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