No challenges to a planning fiasco

Cllr Claire Vickers, supremo for planning, said in a press release ‘We have today received a Note from the Inspector requiring us to make two final modifications to the Horsham District Planning Framework (HDPF) in order that he can approve it’.

So the Inspector, Mr Salter, a civil servant, has now written a ‘note’ - ‘Yes Minister’ language to make it sound like a minor adjustment.

One of these ‘modifications’ is to substantially increase the housing numbers in our district further to meet shortfalls in Crawley. This is now the fourth time the housing number has been increased and of course these additional houses are being dumped onto Horsham.

And what does our esteemed cabinet member for planning say in her press release: ‘In light of Crawley’s projected housing shortfall, the Inspector is requiring us to increase the number of dwellings to 800 per year for the plan period (2011-2031). This would result in a total of 16,000 dwellings between 2011 and 2031’.

She goes on ‘Whilst I am disappointed that the numbers have been increased to 800, this note from the Inspector does give us some certainty for the foreseeable future.’

How passive and weak kneed from a senior local politician who is meant to fight for the interests of residents in our district.

Nothing about ‘we don’t accept these numbers over our original figure of 650 which included 80 homes per year to help Crawley out’.

And what about Mid-Sussex District Council? They aren’t taking Crawley’s housing. They have dragged their feet in seeking to prepare a plan and haven’t done the Inspector’s bidding.

There was nothing in Cllr Vickers’ press release to the effect that ‘we will be challenging the Inspector to provide the evidence he has used to produce this new figure’.

Nothing to show that there are already 7,000 unbuilt homes in the district with planning permission that developers have not yet started – and even now home sales are beginning to fall.

No matter the feasibility of the annual target. Developers will only build what they can sell – and those will not include many starter/affordable homes.

And where is our great Leader Cllr Dawe and our new MP? The latter seems to be simply a face in the newspaper each week – grinning at us but not speaking out on this planning fiasco.

He appears to ignore the issue that will have the greatest impact on the lives of Horsham District Residents in living memory. He has given no lead when we are getting none from Cllr Dawe and his yes-men cabinet.

Our MP’s attitude is contrary to the southern MPs Nick Herbert and Sir Nicholas Soames who spoke passionately to the Inspector arguing against any housing in Henfield where a new town was suggested.

Why didn’t Mr Quin MP go to the resumed public inquiry on Friday 3 July and speak out against further increasing the housing number to take more homes from Crawley - rather than choosing to appear at ‘soft’ meetings, things like the opening of Dinosaur Land?

We’d hoped the replacement to Mr Maude would be someone that would be a strong advocate for Horsham and the villages but 100 days on from the election things do not look promising.

Dr GEOFFREY RICHARDSON

Tennyson Close, Horsham

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