Vital importance of green spaces around Horsham

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ROBERT Bishop was absolutely spot on with his letter (County Times, August 25) when he drew the comparison between the historic parts of Horsham and the green fields of Southwater and Billingshurst.

What is so worrying is that unless you live in the near vicinity of proposed development areas it is not possible to realise the vital importance that our green space has on the village as a whole and its general ambience.

The ‘metropolitan jungle’ and risk of flooding identified by George Etheridge in his letter in the same edition of the County Times and the points he made about the environment in general are well made.

Weather patterns are indeed changing and we now get less total rainfall in heavier bursts and the leaflet enclosed with my water bill from Southern Water refers to ‘the water stressed South East’.

Apart from all the other arguments there is, so far as Southwater is concerned an ‘elephant in the room’.

Immediately to the west of where I live is a massive filled in railway cutting more than 30 feet deep and hundreds of yards long.

The fill took place in the 1970s when there was virtually no monitoring or checks on safety issues. I KNOW what went into the old cutting as I witnessed what was being dumped. It was a free for all.

Everything from building spoil, old cars containing oil and petrol and batteries, household appliances including fridges containing dangerous gases, chemical drums with residue, anything in fact that now would be subject to strict control.

The fields through which the cutting ran are planned to have houses built on or to be part used as attenuation areas for flood prevention. This is a horrendous prospect.

There are no official records of what was dumped and the only ‘safe’ way to deal with this matter would be an evacuation and disposal of the old fill - itself a hazardous and very expensive undertaking.

I challenge both the council and the developers to state how they propose to deal with this issue should development proceed.

B.W. LAFLIN

Woodfield, Southwater