North Horsham development presents ‘biggest decision in a generation’

Hundreds packed out North Heath Hall to discuss proposals for 2,500 homes north of the A264 (JJP).
Hundreds packed out North Heath Hall to discuss proposals for 2,500 homes north of the A264 (JJP).

A proposal for 2,500 homes North of Horsham was hailed as the town’s ‘biggest decision in a generation’ by campaigners at a meeting tonight (Monday September 9).

Hundreds of residents packed out North Heath Hall to share their views to North Horsham Parish Council as it prepares its submission to Horsham District Council over the new draft housing strategy.

HDC is currently consulting on where and how many houses it will build over the next 20 years, which contains proposals for a new business park and new homes north of the A264.

Kicking off the meeting Jim Rae (Con, Holbrook East), a district and county councillor, told the audience they had two options, to find another site, or to challenge the interim sustainability appraisal.

He added: “My fear is if we can’t find a credible alternative we will get stuck with this.”

However many people objected to breaching the ‘sacrosanct’ boundary of the town, as well as the multitude of infrastructure problems large-scale development North of Horsham could possibly bring.

To thunderous applause Wayne Stutchbury, representing campaign group Residents Against Greenfield Erosion, said: “Unquestionably the majority of Horsham district residents have no idea that the biggest decision in a generation is about to be made and the massive impact this decision could have on the character and beauty of Horsham into the future.”

Irina Rohvarger, part of campaign group Save Horsham, felt the district council had not yet made its case as to why a business park, or industrial estate, was necessary for the area.

Paul Thornton bemoaned the fact they would get no new hospital but a crematorium, Sheila White said building homes on the ‘eminently unsuitable’ site was ‘total folly’, while Tony Hogben questioned why more business space was needed when so much of it was currently empty in Crawley.

With standing room only, and with the hall limited by fire regulations to a capacity of 240, around 40 people gathered outside to hear proceedings via loudspeaker.

For more reaction, pictures, and video see our website tomorrow, and for a full roundup see this Thursday’s paper.