LETTER: What happened to joined up thinking

Your article ‘Development plans revealed for 75 homes on a village field’ (South Downs edition May 16) quoted me as saying that Storrington was in a ‘state of crisis’.

I was, of course, referring to the problem of traffic-generated air pollution, now so severe that Horsham District Council has published an Air Quality Action Plan and commissioned the RicardoAEA report: ‘Storrington Traffic Management Options Appraisal’.

These are the actions of a responsible local authority mindful of its statutory duty to reduce air pollution to safe levels.

But your article also states that HDC has ‘expressed the need for more homes in the area’.

If the area in question includes Storrington, we have entered the tricky world of circle-squaring.

For as HDC’s public health and licensing department has stated, in view of the need to reduce air pollution by approximately 30 per cent “...all new development in Storrington and surrounding areas needs to be carefully assessed in terms of traffic generation and air quality impact. This must include the cumulative impact of all planned developments, including those whose individual impact may have been calculated as ‘negligible’.” (Extract from response to Waitrose application DC/11/2334; Feb 2012).

HDC may well want to see more homes built in the area – and even if it didn’t, the delay in producing a Local Plan makes it vulnerable to proposals such as the one in your article.

But there can be no doubt that this would increase the numbers of vehicles going in and out of the village: the developers say their plans for 75 homes include no fewer than 167 parking spaces.

Meanwhile, Wates has applied to build 102 dwellings on the northern edge of the village.

With a hugely expanded Waitrose, a much-enlarged car park and several hundred dwellings already approved for construction in the local area one can only wonder how all this fits in with the statutory duty of reducing air pollution.

The Roman god Janus was able to look two ways at once. But if HDC tries to achieve the planningequivalent by allowing development to continue at this rate while still attempting to reduce air pollution it is going to get a crick in its collective neck.

And there is another no-brainer. As food minister David Heath has belatedly acknowledged, we are heading for a food shortage crisis. Why on earth, then, are we concreting over one of the most agriculturally productive parts of the country? Whatever happened to joined-up thinking?

PHILIP TAPSFIELD

Garden Wood Close, West Chiltington