LETTERS: Venture will not aid local economy

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I refer to the comment by Ray Dawe, WSCT 3rd Oct 2013, regarding objections to the proposed development north of Horsham.

It is misleading for Mr Dawe to say the plan has been in the public domain since 2009. That plan included an A&E hospital with an associated science park. When that option was removed in mid-April 2013 the councillors got together, behind closed doors, and stitched up an alternative plan which they only revealed on 16th August this year.

Horsham District Council has employed numerous consultants and has umpteen specialists, with years of experience and knowledge, producing many, many, hundreds of pages of information for ‘consultation’.

The average person would find all that near impossible to read, understand, identify the unsound evidence base, and respond in the eight weeks allowed. Thank goodness RAGE has taken the initiative to produce a template to help others in this otherwise herculean task.

Mr Dawe complains about people’s reactions but declines to have a public meeting where residents’ concerns can be presented and openly discussed.

He prefers to substitute meetings between officers and a few unknown groups of people - also held behind closed doors and with no subsequent public record. I attended one of those meetings. Nearly two weeks later and with less than a week before the ‘consultation’ closes, I am still waiting for answers to questions raised.

It is Mr Dawe and his colleagues who have not facilitated a rational or objective debate.

Without an A&E hospital the proposal is itself irrational; and it does not inform residents in areas where they have concerns.

It is that which has led to mass speculation: how people will be able to safely cross the A264 bypass; how an already stressed water supply will cope; how the many empty town-centre offices will be filled, and the town centre revitalised, by building even more offices on the edge of town; whether train services at Littlehaven Halt will be halted if a new station is built a mile away; etcetera, etcetera.

Mr Dawe says Liberty is ready to invest £25m to £30m. That is not because they are philanthropists; it is because they expect to make shed-loads of money out of our irreplaceable green and pleasant land.

People want affordable housing which supports the needs of the community, not some capitalist-driven venture which will not aid the local economy and has every likelihood of becoming a burden.

C. MORRIS

Tennyson Close, Horsham