David Moore: Game in which lip service is paid to quality of life

Horsham Society
Horsham Society

If you ever watch some of the travel or wildlife programmes, you cannot fail to be amazed by the animals that you find living in parts of Africa and the beautiful surroundings.

At the same time, there’s also a hint of sadness, when you see a fairly docile animal being hunted down and killed by a predator. The closing scene that’s shown will often be when the predator has decided to move on and the carcass, which has been left lying in the Serengeti, is slowly being finished off by the vultures. Sometimes, Horsham feels a bit like that when you look at what is still a nice market town, surrounded by open countryside.

It’s why the outcome of the examination of the Horsham District Proposed Framework by the Planning Inspector, which starts on the 4th November 2014, is important as it will determine what happens to the town and its surroundings over the next 20 years. Obviously the comments that have already been submitted on Horsham District Council’s proposals are important as these will be taken into account by the Inspector.

However, there’s one final opportunity for the people or groups, who submitted comments and requested an oral hearing, to submit written statements to the Inspector if they wish to expand on the comments that they’ve already made. Today is the penultimate day for people to submit statements for consideration by the Planning Inspector related to the matters listed for discussion during the first week of the inquiry. In due course, we’ll find out how many new homes will be built and where they will they be built?

On top of all this, the predators are already circling around looking for new opportunities. For example, there’s the suggestion that another new town, centred round Kingsfold, of up to 10,000 new homes could be built. It’s probably not too surprising that developers seem to view the northern part of Horsham District as a very attractive concrete plateau, which stretches all the way from Horsham to Crawley. The concept of green fields and countryside seems to have no meaning and urban sprawl is seen as the ultimate objective.

Unfortunately everything seems to have become a numbers game with what can only be described as lip service being paid to important matters such as people’s quality of life and the infrastructure that needs to be associated with building more and more homes in the north of Horsham District. We’ve seen an example of this recently, where we won’t have sufficient doctors to satisfy our current primary healthcare needs when the West of Horsham development is completed. The panacea of ‘we can build a new doctors’ surgery’ is a waste of time if you don’t have sufficient doctors to man a new surgery.

It’s essential that we present the key facts to the Inspector in order to help him reach the right decision. An emotive approach is not the answer. We need to present him with the evidence, which shows the serious flaws in the Horsham District Proposed Framework document that he will be considering. None of us wants to be part of the disintegrating carcass that’s left behind when the developers have gone. We want to remain part of a vibrant and attractive town surrounded by some lovely countryside.