Horsham golf course could be developed for housing

A Horsham golf course could be one of several large sites earmarked for housing development across the district.

Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 11:34 am
Updated Tuesday, 28th January 2020, 11:42 am
Rookwood Golf Centre, Robin Hood Ln, Horsham, Warnham. Pic Steve Robards SR20012702 SUS-200127-170136001

As part of its local plan review, Horsham District Council faces having to accept even higher housing targets and will therefore need to identify new strategic sites to accommodate these extra homes.

The process has identified nine new sites which have the potential to deliver more than 800 homes, but none have been allocated by the council at this stage.

One of these is the council-owned Rookwood Golf Centre in Robin Hood Lane, which could provide around 900/1,000 new homes and is being promoted as an ‘urban extension’ of Horsham.

Rookwood Golf Centre, Robin Hood Ln, Horsham, Warnham. Pic Steve Robards SR20012702 SUS-200127-170257001

According to the document due to be put out for public consultation: “The site is located inside the A24 and there are therefore close links to the existing built form of Horsham town. The proposed scheme seeks to incorporate green spaces and landscaping throughout the development which would mitigate against the loss of the existing landscape.

“It is also noted that the promoter will ensure that biodiversity net gains are provided and that the adjoining nature conservation site – Warnham Local Nature Reserve - together with the historic mill building will continue to be protected.”

If allocate the land would not be available until 2022/23.

The document outlines that while Rookwood site is in an area of high housing demand, there is a high level of development ongoing nearby including land north of Horsham.

Rookwood Golf Centre, Robin Hood Ln, Horsham, Warnham. Pic Steve Robards SR20012702 SUS-200127-170333001

Officers suggested there is a risk the cumulative impacts could affect market absorption and delivery of housing.

Facilities on site could include a primary school, community hub and small element of retail.

Given the proximity to Horsham town any new residents would ‘also be able to easily access these facilities’, but the northern section of the site would be ‘relatively isolated’ from the rest of Horsham.

The document also recognised the golf course provides leisure and recreational opportunities but suggested demand is falling with pay and play facilities ‘available elsewhere’.

The site would also have good transport links being next to the A24 and near both Horsham and Littlehaven railway stations.

Officers added: “The site promoter has a clear vision for the development based on very high quality design and landscaping with green open spaces and views incorporated throughout the development, seeking to provide a characterful, permeable and liveable community.”

Other possible strategic sites which the public will be consulted on are:

• Land at Adversane 3,500/4,000 homes

• Land east of Billingshurst 1,200 homes

• Land west of Billingshurst (two sites 850/1,000 homes and 500/750 homes)

• Land west of Crawley 10,000 homes

• Land at Kingsfold 1,000 homes

• Mayfield, north east of Henfield 7,000 homes

• Land west of Southwater 1,200 homes

• Land at Buck Barn, West Grinstead 3,500 homes.

Horsham’s current housing target of 800 homes a year was set when the district’s planning framework was agreed back in 2015. This figure was split between 650 homes to meet Horsham’s own need and 150 homes to meet unmet need outside of the district.

But according to the council the district’s own objectively assessed need has risen to 965 homes per year, but it also needs to consider how much extra homes the district can accommodate to help address unmet housing need from neighbouring authorities.

The council is testing the deliverability and impacts of three potential housing target options.

These would either be 1,000, 1,200 or 1,400 homes a year in total.

Officers said: “This ongoing level of growth is unprecedented, and it will be important to test how these homes could be delivered on an ongoing and sustained basis for the whole plan period.”

In addition to large-scale strategic allocations, the council has put together a shortlist of smaller sites in towns and villages ranging between 20 and 500 homes in size.

If approved by cabinet on Thursday (January 30) the draft local plan document would be published for six weeks of consultation from Monday February 17 to Monday March 30.

What do you think of the proposals? Email your thought to our letters page.