New market town ‘unlikely’

JPCT 170912 Countryside east of Henfield. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 170912 Countryside east of Henfield. Photo by Derek Martin

A new market town in the Horsham district is unlikely without a neighbouring authority’s help, says the leader of the council.

Earlier this month two Conservative councillors said that ‘Horsham is full’ and the council should pursue a new market town in the south of the district as it decides its future housing strategy.

In the same week that planning minister Nick Boles praised new settlements as being ‘tremendously good things’, Ray Dawe (Con, Chantry), leader of Horsham District Council, said that a market town was unlikely.

He explained: “This may sound like a possible solution but it is not one that could be viable without the co-operation of Mid Sussex District Council and though they have looked at the idea some years ago, Mid Sussex DC have just published their housing strategy for the next 20 years and it makes absolutely no mention of this possibility.”

Mayfield Market Towns has lobbied HDC for 10,000 houses between Henfield and Sayers Common in the form of five new villages.

The council is currently deciding on a new 20-year housing strategy, which will set out where and how many houses will be built in the Horsham district.

John Wallace, West Sussex county organiser for the UK Independence Party, said that most villages and towns were at bursting point.

He said: “We have numerous large housing applications across the county. We have district and county councillors who are bullied and coerced into following Government edicts of more housing. If they don’t, they get castigated by Government inspectors. It’s like a communist state.”

David Hide, chair of the Horsham Labour Party, said: “Let us hope that in terms of future development the council will make sensible decisions based on local need and not respond to knee jerk reactions from some quarters keen to make an impact in the run up to county council elections.”

David Holmes (LDem, Horsham Park), leader of HDC’s Liberal Democrats, said: “A decision does need to be made on whether or not Horsham needs to grow further in order to maintain its viability as a vibrant town offering good facilities and services.”