Suitable site for housing need

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Regarding ‘New housing: Horsham is full!’, as lead member of a consortium of developers promoting Land West of Ifield, Crawley, I read with interest the letter from councillors Mitchell and Burgess published in last week’s County Times.

There is little doubt that Horsham District Council has a difficult choice to make in the next few months, most aptly summarised in last week’s letter.

The essence of the councillors’ letter is that Horsham is not capable of accommodating the level of housing it needs, and so a new town is their preferred option.

Failing this their second option is to identify a town with good access links which could be enhanced by extra housing. In this regard, Horsham, Southwater and Billingshurst are ruled out.

Such a town is indisputably Crawley. Crawley Borough Council has publicly acknowledged that it cannot hit its housing targets because of its tightly drawn boundaries.

Crawley must therefore consider ‘exporting’ its housing need outside its boundaries, which must include Horsham.

As a result Horsham faces significant pressure for new housing generated not only by its own demographic needs, but also from unmet need generated by Crawley.

Our simple case is that Crawley, being the principal growth generator in the region, should consume its own smoke by accommodating on its boundary (albeit within Horsham) its significant future housing needs. Imposing these needs upon the Horsham towns makes no sense at all.

We will be writing to all Horsham’s councillors shortly making plain that there is a suitable and deliverable site on the edge of Crawley to satisfy its housing need problem.

It is precisely the town with good access links that the councillors describe which would be enhanced by housing.

RICHARD THOMAS

Partner, Welbeck Strategic Land LLP, Woodstock Street, London W1