Robust stance over building

I am a member of the Save Billingshurst Action Group but I am writing on my own behalf as a Billingshurst resident who attended Horsham District Council’s planning meeting on the morning of July 17.

Through your pages I am hoping to thank Billingshurst Parish Council (councillors, clerk and staff) for the robust stance they have taken and the extensive work they have done over a considerable time to oppose large-scale development on the greenfields of Billingshurst, especially the application for 550-plus houses as was under consideration by HDC.

I should like to also thank our three representatives at HDC who all spoke with such passion and well-worded argument. I was extremely heartened to hear other councillors’ comments; once again, many thanks.

At this meeting I heard more common sense spoken on the matter of planning than I have read or heard from HDC for a very long time.

Many who attended were delighted to hear the promises of a more robust approach from HDC to any future appeals by developers. Until now it has seemed HDC was intimidated by this process and by the various developers. I applaud HDC for this promised stronger stance, should it be necessary; indeed, many at the meeting actually DID applaud them!

Well done to the people of Billingshurst who shouted loud enough and long enough to be heard. Well done to those who have written, emailed and attended meetings; who haven’t, in short, given up.

Inevitably, there are residents who considered this ‘a done deal’; who felt their view wouldn’t be listened to and that continued opposition was pointless.

I hope they take hear from HDC’s decision and realise their one letter; their attendance at even one meeting; whatever they can do, does, indeed, make a difference.

Billingshurst has already seen one appeal rejected by HM Government’s Planning Inspectorate and one of the factors cited was the strength of local opposition.

So, if the development consortium proceed to appeal the July 17 decision, I hope all who oppose will do whatever they can to demonstrate this. Many people oppose the destruction of our countryside – our green and pleasant land – and I hope, if it is necessary, that people will show the developers that their ‘constantly dripping tap’ approach will NOT work.

Can I also thank the CPRE and the County Times for their support of all those villages who do not wish to become dormitory towns; who do not wish to see ‘bolt-on’ large-scale development on greenfield sites.

Lastly, though I have said I am a member, I think it is right to thank the Save Billingshurst Action Group for their sterling efforts. As a member, I have received many phone calls, since the meeting, asking me to thank the group and say well done.

It appears that democracy and common sense have re-appeared in the Horsham district and I’m sure I’m not alone in welcoming this – long may it continue.

SUE KINGSTON

Daux Avenue, Billingshurst