Horsham Novartis: What's changed in latest plans?

After weeks of consultation an updated masterplan on the proposed redevelopment of Horsham's former Novartis site has been revealed.

Friday, 2nd November 2018, 4:26 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd November 2018, 4:46 pm
novartis horsham

West Sussex County Council is looking to transform the site off Wimblehurst Road into a business-led enterprise park, complete with hundreds of new homes and community spaces.

The council, which bought the site for £16m two years ago, revealed its initial proposals for the area in September, launching a public consultation on its ideas.

After listening to feedback an updated masterplan has been created and was unveiled by the council on Tuesday (October 30). For more see our previous story: Horsham Novartis: Latest masterplan unveiled

Artists impression of the proposed scheme at the former Novartis site

The site is still set to be split into three key areas which include; A place to live (residential), A place to work (employment and enterprise), and A place to meet (mixed use zones).

There is also a new proposals for transport links with summary of the key areas and changes to the old plans outlined below:

A place to work

The scheme is set to be business-led with the council looking to create ‘high quality, innovative and sustainable employment and business opportunities’.

Around 25,000m² of employment space - around size of three-and-a-half full size football pitches - is still being proposed with the aim of housing big businesses as well as start-ups, free-lancers and entrepreneurs.

Following the previous consultation the council said many called on the site to focus on catering for small businesses and start-ups.

They said residents also highlighted Horsham’s success in attracting businesses from the video games industry and felt the site should seek to attract similar organisations.

In response the council said it was focusing on delivering a ‘high quality, flexible space’ and said it would promote the site to try and attract the businesses outlined by residents.

A place to live

Land south of Wimblehurst Road will be set aside for 300 new homes consisting of a mix of houses and small apartment blocks.

Houses will be between two and three storeys in height with apartment blocks possibly stretching to four storeys. The Art Deco building along with another historic building on the site will still be retained and a large proportion of space in both will be turned into apartments.

Despite calls from residents for more affordable homes in the scheme the council said it was sticking to the 35 per cent it had outlined previously as it was ‘in accordance with local planning policy’.

Many also raised concerns over the amount of properties proposed stating 300 was too many for the site while calls were also made for more homes to be created for retired and elderly people.

In response the council said there would be a mixture of properties which could include homes for the elderly and 300 properties was the maximum proposed for the area. The final total could be lower.

A place to meet

At the centre of the site, where both the retained listed buildings are housed, will be a community space.

A community hub is still being proposed and would be created on the ground floor of the retained building next to the Art Deco building.

It would be surrounded by a cluster of buildings which will house small retail units and a cafe.

Concerns were raised by many following the previous consultation about the impact the development would have on existing services in the area including health and education. There were also calls for the community hub to do more for workers on the site.

In response the council said it would create a creshe or nursery, which was only an initial idea in the previous proposals, for working parents and it would also include further contributions to improve local facilities.

A connected place

As well as the three main areas the county council has also outlined plans to improve the transport links in the area.

The council said it is still in the mist of creating a travel plan but vehicle access is still being proposed via the existing entrances to the site on Parsonage Road and Wimblehurst Road.

In the previous consultation several concerns were raised about congestion on roads neighbouring the site as well as visibility on the mini-roundabout at the junction of Wimblehurst Road and Parsonage Road.

Calls were made to widen the roads in the area to include cycle lanes and there was a lot of support for pedestrian crossing points of Parsonage Road.

The council said it would be improving access to Wimblehurst Road for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians as well as installing new access points along Parsonage Road for pedestrian and cyclists

It is also planning to improve the Wimblehurst Road and Parsonage Road junction as well as put forward financial contributions for further road improvements.