Plans to build 69 new homes in the heart of Horsham were met with ‘total disbelief’ by neighbouring residents when they were announced.
Horsham-based housing association Saxon Weald has submitted an application to Horsham District Council to demolish the 26 homes, mainly bungalows in Winterton Court off New Street, and replace them with 65 new flats and four new houses.
But many residents of the New Street area are opposed to plans, which they argue represents overdevelopment of the site, and would exacerbate existing parking and road safety problems in the area.
While not against affordable homes on the site, they feel a number of five-storey and three-storey blocks would destroy the character of the area.
Sam Burgess, who lives in New Street with his wife and two children, said: “The new development would cast a dark shadow over many of our houses and leave hundreds of people directly overlooking my garden and young children playing.”
He described residents’ ‘total disbelief’ when they were told about plans, and felt Saxon Weald had not taken into account the effects on neighbouring homeowners.
They also feel the housing association did not engage them early enough to allow them to have a meaningful effect on the design process.
Joyce Morris, another New Street resident, added: “I am very sad Saxon Weald have not engaged with us over this development as we are a close-knit welcoming community, keen to have a say in this important project.”
One of the main concerns is road safety as New Street has staggered parking bays on alternate sides of the road. According to residents this can cause heavy congestion at peak times, speeding, and vehicles mounting the pavement on occasion.
Vanessa Rustom added: “With four young children I am terrified by the prospect of so much more traffic on a road already dangerously overcrowded.”
One of the main pedestrian routes to the town through the North Street subway crosses the entrance to Winterton Court, which represents another concern, especially during any period of construction.
They also believe 63 parking spaces for around 200 new residents would be insufficient, and question the availability of school places and space at GP surgeries.