634 home development in Southwater revealed

Artist's impression of green belt
Artist's impression of green belt

New draft development plans for 634 homes in Southwater have been revealed today (February 20).

Berkeley Homes has sent leaflets through the doors of every Southwater resident informing of its new initial plan for a development to the west of the village.

The plan includes 580 homes and 54 ‘retirement living dwellings’.

Great House Farm is located in the middle of land allocated for development. English Heritage upgraded the listing of the farm building from a grade 2 to a grade 2* in 2012.

Berkeley Homes withdrew a plan for up to 550 homes last year.

A lengthy consultation revealed that land around the farm should remain clear of development.

John Lambert, planning director for Berkeley, explained that within Berkeley’s new plan, development has been moved away from the farmhouse.

The amount of land taken from the farm has been reduced by 76 per cent in an aim to maintain to viability of the farm.

Mr Lambert said the plans were in line with Horsham District Council’s draft planning framework which has allocated around 500 homes in land west of Southwater.

He said the plan was for 634 homes as opposed to 500 because Berkeley’s aim was to make best use of the allocated land.

He said: “We feel this number of houses meets the needs of the area which will potentially reduce development pressures elsewhere.

“We included the provision of retirement living because we are conscious we have an ageing population.”

The plans include 58 one bed apartment, 85 two bed apartments, 107 two bed houses, 143 three bed houses, 158 four bed houses and 29 five bed houses.

John Neville, design director for Berkeley Homes, said although the density of the housing has increased in some areas in comparison to the last plan, the character of the development will remain the same.

He said: “There will be quintessentially English country lanes and areas of more increased density.”

Mr Lambert added that a secondary school has been removed from the plan which he said should reduce the affect on road congestion.

Parking spaces have been allocated opposite Southwater Academy to reduce congestion at school pick up and drop off times.

A left only filter lane from Worthing Road to the A24 is planned in an aim to reduce congestion for motorists entering Hop Oast roundabout from Southwater.

The plan shows houses built over the cricket field north of Church Lane.

But Mr Lambert said other areas will be available for this facility as land will be left free of development to the north and south of the Downs Link.

Mr Lambert said an open area within a semi-circle of homes will provide a drainage point from which the water will be drained away from the houses.

Berkeley hopes to submit its new planning application in spring this year.

It will hold two public exhibitions of the plans at Beeson House, Lintot Square, from 6pm to 9pm on February 28 and 10am to 2pm on March 1.

Mr Lambert added: “We are conscious people might be getting jaded by being asked to come and comment on proposals.

“But we want to extend the invitation as far as possible to get people to give us their views.”

Mr Lambert said they will be keen to speak with owners of businesses in Lintot Square to find out if they feel they will benefit from the new development or not.

The opinions of those who run the village surgery will also be sought.

A feedback form has also been included in the leaflet.

The plans are also available online at: www.westofsouthwater.co.uk