I was saddened to read the letter: ‘Homes must be built somewhere’ by Mrs Flores (WSCT, 19.6.14).
Mr Blevins, MD of the American company ‘Liberty’ must have been heartened. I don’t think anyone doubts that we probably do need more housing – although a report on the radio (19.6.14) explained that there are more spare rooms in the property market than the numbers needed to house everybody. Trouble is many of them are in the wrong place and tied up with all of us living longer in houses that are probably too big in our later years.
I am sure Mrs Flores has been following the debate week by week through your pages. She will know that HDC has set an annual housing target of 650 houses per year – but this is a figure council has never achieved in the past in the boom times and failure to meet this unrealistic target will just allow speculative builders to put houses where they want changing the whole character of the district.
She will also know that HDC agreed what they called their ‘Core Strategy’ in 2007 stating that no development should ever take place north of the A264 to stop coalescence between Horsham and Crawley. This was confirmed in 2009 Core Strategy Review voted on by all councillors.
This development will see the ‘Strategic Gap’ (enshrined by the Inspector in 2007) reduced by 15 per cent. Maybe she is quite happy to see Horsham and Crawley merged?
Cllr Vickers is keen to persuade us that this strategic development in north Horsham will bring work for young people and accommodation that they can afford. Yet we have no information about the businesses she says will come here. HDC refuses to tell us! It seems very unlikely such work will provide young people with incomes to support the required mortgages in Horsham. Developers don’t want to build affordable homes – they make their big profits on the four and five bedroomed houses. They don’t want to use brownfield sites – of which there are many in the district including Novartis – because it is much cheaper to dig up and concrete an 800 acre green field site.
If Mrs Flores has been reading your paper week by week she will also know that the decisions by the council have been politically driven – by southern ward councillors to get the housing out of their wards. They are the NIMBYS – using their power to get the problem off their patches.
A much fairer and desirable solution would have been (as in the alternative option that Cllrs Dawe and Vickers stopped in its tracks) to have shared the housing around all the settlements in the District giving priority to brownfield not greenfield sites. We would not have objected to that.
Old Holbrook, Horsham