Council ‘inept’ over handling of ‘nightmare’ Southwater housing development

David Bishop who lives in Worthing Road, outside his home opposite the new Barratt Homes development (submitted).
David Bishop who lives in Worthing Road, outside his home opposite the new Barratt Homes development (submitted).

A year-long ‘nightmare’ of living next to the construction of 44 Southwater homes has left one man disenchanted with the council which he says has failed to take proper enforcement action.

David Bishop has lived in Southwater for 12 years but since October he says he has seen months of disruption opposite his Worthing Road home.

The issue came before a Horsham District Council planning meeting which heard that when Barratt Homes was given permission for 44 homes at Martindale Farm last year, it was told to use the Blakes Farm Road entrance for construction traffic. However, it had continually used Worthing Road, the meeting heard.

The company’s application to vary the condition to allow construction traffic into the Worthing Road site entrance was reluctantly approved by HDC’s Development Control North Committee.

“It has been a bit of a nightmare with the noise, the disruption, and the filth,” Mr Bishop said.

“The council has been totally inept and weak.”

He said his front garden had been churned up by heavy lorries turning into the site, construction traffic had led to huge traffic queues in Worthing Road, while he criticised the time it took HDC to answer emails detailing his concerns.

At the HDC meeting, Jenny Nagy, deputy clerk of Southwater Parish Council, urged the committee to reject the application, and pointed to numerous planning breaches.

She said: “You the district council are the local planning authority.

“We as a parish council look to you to monitor and enforce decisions.”

Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater) said she shared the frustrations of the parish council and the local residents.

She explained: “I think this is a clear case of a developer not actually playing by the rules so my irritation is huge.”

David Holmes (LDem, Horsham Park) asked if the council could endeavour to mitigate any future effects on Worthing Road residents.

He added: “This is an embarrassing and disgraceful situation. I’m appalled.”

Liz Kitchen (Con, Rusper and Colgate), chairman of the committee, said: “What has been going on is absolutely appalling and should not have happened.”

However, many members conceded there was little point in refusing the application since the development was almost finished it gave them an opportunity to sign a new legal agreement, giving them some modicum of control.