Council decries ‘greed’ of low-density housing

JPCT 30-07-12 S12300858X  Harwood House, Kings Road, Horsham  -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 30-07-12 S12300858X Harwood House, Kings Road, Horsham -photo by Steve Cobb

The council emphatically rejected a scheme for 14 new houses in the heart of Horsham - citing an inappropriate mix of housing units.

The application, which would have seen the now empty Harwood House in Kings Road demolished, was rejected by Horsham District Council’s Development Control North Committee on Tuesday.

The site, adjacent to Kingslea Primary School, used to be a West Sussex County Council day care centre until its closure in July 2011.

Roy Cornell (Con, Roffey South) thought it was an application that raised more questions and gave very few answers, and that they could reject plans on the inappropriate housing mix for the site.

He added: “The other case is to vote in favour with heavy hearts and curse the other parties for their greed.”

The application had been deferred earlier this year, and members were unhappy that the scheme was at a lower density than properties around it.

Under current rules 14 properties is the threshold for development without having to make contribution towards affordable housing.

Peter Burgess (Con, Holbrook West) said: “The county council want to make themselves money. What they are proposing is out of tune with the requests and the needs of the local community.”

Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater) added: “We have an obligation to make sure the planning application fits our own needs, and this mix of dwellings does not meet the needs of the district.”

Meanwhile Leonard Crosbie (LDem, Trafalgar) questioned the legality of the county council imposing a condition on the developers of a maximum of 14 dwellings, and whether this was to be considered ultra vires or beyond its powers.

David Holmes (LDem, Horsham Park) explained it was important that the development was in keeping with the area.

He said: “It’s completely out of kilter and we must refuse it tonight.”