Final countdown begins ‘to save Horsham from destruction’


The final countdown has now begun on a plan which will irrevocably change Horsham.

Opponents fear the massive development contained within the blueprint would see the town haemorrhage across its northern boundaries into a huge sprawling mass across the green fields beyond.

On Wednesday (April 30), Horsham district councillors are expected to rubber stamp the proposals - but not before a heated debate in the council chamber in North Street led by Conservative vice chairman Christian Mitchell.

The meeting starts at 6pm and the public is entitled to attend.

Tomorrow’s printed edition of the West Sussex County Times sets the final clock ticking with the headline: Seven days to save Horsham.

The message encapsulates the fears of thousands of residents who believe the Hobson’s Choice preferred option the council put out to consultation was flawed.

Also, in this Thursday’s paper, we will exclusively publish details of the council’s original housing blueprint - which was suddenly axed in favour of the second option for massive development in north Horsham.

The newspaper will also reveal the ruling Conservative group’s reasoning for the change last summer.

In so doing, the County Times is responding to a letter from the chairman of the Horsham Society David Moore.

Mr Moore said: “If I understand the position correctly, two possible housing strategies were put to the Conservative Group on June 24, 2013 and the second scenario was chosen as the Preferred Strategy.

“The first scenario seems to have been discarded and never presented to the full council or the general public for consideration.

“Surely this cannot be right? It should have been the council which decided which of the two strategies should have been chosen or even if an alternative strategy should have been developed.

“Since the Preferred Strategy was published for consultation, two different groups have put forward their alternative strategies for consideration by the council but both have been discounted on the grounds that, ‘we’ve already considered that’. This may be true but we don’t know as we haven’t seen the one discarded in secret.

“I believe that it would be sensible for the council to put the first possible housing strategy scenario, which was not considered by the council, within the background documents on its website.

“If we can see what was rejected, this must make it easier for the council to sell its chosen scenario for the future of Horsham District to the electorate.

“What’s there to fear in doing this? It must make sense.”

County Times’ Editor In Chief Gary Shipton said: “David Moore is correct. On June 24, 2013, two housing strategy scenarios were outlined at a private meeting of the Conservative group at Horsham District Council.

“The first was the one that had been discussed at previous private group meetings and seminars. However, it was dramatically axed at this meeting and the second, new scenario which focussed on North Horsham was the option that was then chosen - and which will form the basis for the vote on April 30.

“As readers will know, Conservative councillors were instructed not to vote against this second scenario when it came before full council as the preferred strategy in July or group disciplinary proceedings would immediately follow.

“In the absence of Horsham District Council publishing the first scenario, the County Times will do so in the print edition of the newspaper on Thursday (April 24).

“We will also give the reasons for this sudden change of heart - in councillors’ own private words at the time.

“This material, of enormous and legitimate public interest, should be in the public domain in advance of the final vote the following Wednesday and we will ensure that it is.”