Protests at development

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HORSHAM District Council (HDC) has said in its consultation document entitled ‘How Much Housing Does Horsham District Need?’ that ‘levels of employment growth and levels of housing growth are directly linked’.

That statement is unreferenced and unexplained and except perhaps for the meanest intelligence, is clearly ridiculously untrue.

They have got it back to front because historically, new housing will arise out of the need for labour by newly established industry and commerce. That is what happened in Manchester, Bradford and Liverpool, and the coal-mining areas of Yorkshire, and more recently in Aberdeenshire when the North Sea oil industry was developing.

HDC goes on to say that affordable homes could make up to 40 per cent of all homes built in the district. If that is the case, why then are we not seeing such public-spirited action from developers that are currently erecting four, five and six bedroom houses on sites where they have already obtained planning permission?

The statement is a delusion and will only mislead the casual reader. Developers are in the business to make a profit, which they do most efficiently by building large houses and selling them to the well-heeled, while it is certain they are not affiliated to organisations that exist to provide social services.

Both these assertions are crude, transparent attempts to mislead the bulk of the population of Horsham district.

Moreover, at a recent council meeting it was stated by a member of HDC that the number of new houses required by the notorious South East Plan is some 13,000 units, however this number has now become inadequate, suggesting that this wretched, deceptive council intends to far exceed the original 13,000 units.

This is why thinking people are prompted to ask just what is going on and what is the reason for this obvious deception to achieve something hardly anybody living in the district wants, or is in fact actually required?

The answer may relate to the council’s recent and frantic attempts to sell assets and to grotesquely exploit others such as car parks, which may in turn have been prompted by the shrinking financial reserves held by HDC.

It is a fact that the Government intends to pay a significant sum to councils in respect of each new home and, and of course, that will help to restore the council’s financial reserves. However, this housing bonus is only a one-off payment which explains why HDC has to go on and on and on in its obliteration of rural West Sussex.

This council will continue to destroy our countryside, convert our rural lanes into traffic-ridden asphalt hideousness and substitute the panorama of small towns and villages set in an expanse of green fields and woodland for a wasteland of dreary housing estates with the usual attendant infrastructure and social problems that we are all familiar with, and which will become legacy issues that no one will resolve!

What is required is a logical and sensible approach to new housing requirements, priority MUST be given to social and affordable houses, so that people requiring housing get a decent place to live, also children of families that live locally and who work locally can afford to purchase housing in their desired area.

Why do we have to have thousands and thousands of new houses on the pretext of providing affordable housing, when what we need is to provide the social/affordable houses without the need for the massive large scale new developments that will destroy our villages and countryside forever?

If suitable land can be made available at pre-development prices, for social/affordable houses, there is a good chance that social/affordable housing can be provided without the need to over-develop.

Is HDC looking at this as an option? I am sure that this option would be more acceptable to the residents of Horsham district.

Every day throughout the district there is yet another action/protest group being formed to fight new developments, surely now is the time for HDC to listen to the voices of local people and formulate a proper plan to address all the housing needs. The localism plans that the Government has are obviously stopping at the district council level!

I would have thought that as the housing issue is such a major one, HDC would want to allow sufficient time to properly look into ALL the issues regarding new housing generally, including housing allocations, locations, affordable/social housing and prepare a fully detailed action plan that addresses ALL the issues and concerns of ALL people.

Instead of trying to push through with its plans without giving sufficient time for the local people (who the councillors are meant to represent), being able to be a proper part of the consultation process.

DAVID MOWLING

Coneyhurst Road, Billingshurst