As someone who remembers being able, if lucky, on a Friday evening to park in Horsham’s West Street to do a Tesco shop in what is now Poundland, I reflect on the many changes both in the town and the area over the years.
The population has grown both in numbers and apparent wealth.
The town was carved up with the construction of Albion Way and the Swan Walk development surrounded and finally extinguished the original Capitol Theatre. This was deplored by many.
However many of the 1960/1970s mistakes were corrected in later years and in general, with the glaring exception of West Street’s recent appalling ‘modernisation’ terminating with its ugly white elephant sculpture/ water feature with no water (something it shares with those poor swans in Swan Walk) we have a vibrant, generally safe attractive town which most of us are quite proud of.
Unfortunately Horsham, together with many other towns in the South East, now faces a huge threat.
Have you noticed the substantial increase of traffic on the roads, even in the middle of the day?
Do you have difficulty in getting your child into the secondary school of choice? Are you waiting longer than ever for a doctor appointment?
Huge areas of greenfield land is being carved up for ‘much needed’ housing. Needed by whom?
Now, if these houses were for local first time buyers at a price they could afford, not many people would complain.
But no, the houses that are being built are getting on for half a million a time, attracting out of area buyers who have made a killing by selling their overpriced urban dwellings and who want to live in a nice country town.
Our youngsters just do not stand a chance.
The developers and the land owners are making a killing and the rest of us will be paying the price.
So I make two appeals. The first is to those objectors to the North Horsham plans.
By all means fight your corner and the very best of luck for yours is a worthy cause but please do not keep saying do not build there, put them in Southwater. That is the ultimate NIMBYISM.
The second appeal is to our new MP, Jeremy Quin. Please do not emulate your illustrious predecessor by using your weekly column in our local paper to give an account of your involvement in fete openings etc Most of us are not interested. National issues are covered by the national press.
Get involved in the local problems that are and will be caused by this rush of development. You are our local MP after all.
Planning law needs reform to ensure that adequate area infrastructure and facilities are created before houses are built and a majority of such houses are genuinely affordable by those young people on average wages.
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