Impact of development on Warnham’s character could be ‘immense’

JPCT 08-02-13 S13070064X  Warnham. -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 08-02-13 S13070064X Warnham. -photo by Steve Cobb

The knock-on effect of large-scale development North of Horsham could have a huge impact on the character of Warnham, the parish council has warned.

Discussing its response to Horsham District Council’s draft housing strategy at a public meeting on Tuesday September 10, Warnham parish councillors felt proposals for 2,500 homes and a new business park north of the A264 would greatly affect the infrastructure serving the village.

The main concern voiced was the capacity of surrounding roads, given the amount of accidents on the A24 near Warnham, and large scale housebuilding already taking place west of Horsham and south of Broadbridge Heath.

Hilary Farquhar, chairman of the parish council, said: “2,500 homes in one place will hugely alter the character of not only Horsham but Warnham as well.”

Giving a summary to fellow members on the preferred strategy, currently out for consultation, Roger Purcell said the starting point had to be the housing numbers.

He said: “In this preferred strategy the need for 575 houses a year is not justified or explained.”

Alex Wilks added: “Given the road and rail links this is the best site for putting 2,500 houses unless they get together with someone about a new market town somewhere on the A23. To my mind that’s the best answer.”

He added: “To my mind we either wreck every village in the district or we wreck a small patch.”

Mr Purcell thought it would be a ‘nice thing’ for Horsham to have a business park that could attract high-tech industry but questioned whether firms would come.

“It seems like a naive plan in many ways,” he explained.

“The need is not justified. It’s naked ambition of Horsham being more attractive.”

John Hamer added: “The impact on residents of Warnham in terms of roads, rail, and water supply is clearly going to be immense.”

However, he said it was important they were not against housebuilding in general.

He explained: “It’s got to be justified. There has to be reasons for this change and there has to be some back up and that’s one of the things that seems to be lacking.”

The number of accidents already occurring on the A24 was mentioned by several councillors. Geoff Read, vice chairman, said: “All this housing development assumes it can take major traffic with minor tweaking.”

On proposals for North of Horsham Stuart Ritche, who is also a Horsham district councillor, said: “It may turn out to be what’s implemented or it may be kicked into touch and something else may be drawn up.”