LETTER: Urban desert of derelict premises

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It is striking that there appears to have been no response in your columns from councillors Dawe or Vickers or any of their supporters to the criticisms raised in my letter (published in your issue of 26 September) of the supposed economic arguments in favour of the North Horsham Strategic Development (NHSD) component of the Draft Preferred Strategy which they put forward in the previous issue (19 Sept) - not to mention the numerous other letters pointing out the lack of any justification for the large new business park which is a central feature of the development.

Such silence from our elected officials seems all the more surprising in view of their assertion that the NHSD is vital to achieving the economic growth objectives that they claim are at the heart of the Strategy and which they also claim are mandated by the Government.

On the other hand it might be taken as an indication of cynical contempt for public opinion (not to mention rational debate) on the part of our elected civic leaders, perhaps confident in their ability to railroad this development through whatever its objective merits.

Perhaps it is not too much to hope that other councillors, more concerned for the long-term welfare of the community in the district as a whole, will appreciate the danger of negative ripple effects such a development might have beyond the immediate vicinity of the NHSD.

In particular they might recognise that, in a situation where much existing empty office space in and around Horsham is said (by both the Planning Department and the developers) to be sub-standard and in need of upgrading, opening up new space rather than refurbishing what exists would be likely to produce an ever greater glut of business space and turn Horsham into an urban desert of derelict premises.

Hence it behoves all councillors with a genuine concern for the public interest to demand the withdrawal of this Strategy in favour of a less destructive one based on a reasoned analysis of the alternatives.


Allingham Gardens, Horsham

Editor’s note: see page 40 for comment by Claire Vickers