Housing campaigners urge council to accept new report conclusions

Campaigners have taken exception to the number of houses proposed to be built in Horsham district over the next 20 years.
Campaigners have taken exception to the number of houses proposed to be built in Horsham district over the next 20 years.

ANTI-HOUSING campaigners have welcomed a report on new housing numbers for Horsham district and have urged the council to accept its findings.

Ian Howard (Con, Southwater), asked for responses that could be included in Horsham District Council’s agreed strategy, yet the Hives Report savages the initial report that their consultation was based on.

Commissioned by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), it suggests 480 new houses a year, totalling 9,600, compared to the lowest option of 590 available in the consultation.

Ian Thwaites, leader of Keep Southwater Green, said: “KSG welcome the CPRE`s Hives Report and endorses its contents in every way. Ian Howard said he would give serious consideration to other numbers provided they were presented with evidence.

“He has that evidence and let us hope he is as good as his word. This provides a much more balanced and realistic assessment of what Horsham really needs and destroys the myth that houses create jobs.”

Roger Smith, of Horsham and Crawley CPRE, called GL Hearn’s initial report for the council fundamentally flawed, describing the assumption that economic growth can be achieved by building new houses notional and misleading.

He said: “Councillors themselves do not understand how these numbers were arrived at.”

David Mowling, chairman of Save our Sussex Alliance, added: “Clearly the council’s current housing policies do not work, the housing consultation process was too short, too complicated for people to comment on and too many houses in their four options.

“Why HDC think that they now need 600 to 700 new houses per year when over the last five years there have been approximately 260 new houses built per year, is somewhat confusing.”

The latest Annual Monitoring Report figures show that on average 393 homes have been built over the past 11 years in the district, predicting build rates of 472 annually over the next seven years.

In response a spokesperson for HDC said: “Horsham District Council is currently inputting all the representations, including that of the CPRE, which were received during the consultation on to the online portal so that they can all be viewed, following the closing date on Tuesday April 10. As there was a large number of representations, including the CPRE response, received in the last few days of the consultation it will be a couple of weeks until they are all available to view online.

“All responses will be considered and reported to council members. Representations are not responded to individually however they will be considered by officers and members over the coming months before further work, if needed, is undertaken and decisions made in the Preferred Strategy (the Preferred Strategy is the next stage of the Horsham District Planning Framework, currently programmed for autumn this year).”

For more information visit www.cpre.org.uk