Nik Butler: Why was plan for 5,000 more houses not disclosed?

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001

Is it time for a housing development amnesty? Should we provide a private space for our local council to anonymously drop off documentation relating to other prospective housing plans of controversy?

When many months ago I wrote in reference to as yet undisclosed housing plans, which we might be waiting for, it was only in the sense of expecting another shoe to drop. I was not writing from a position of insider knowledge; merely healthy skepticism in a system which appears skewed towards developers and lack of scrutiny.

How exactly do plans which additionally provide upgrades to Warnham railway station, an expansion of a notoriously deadly road, and the addition of further housing from which CAGNE can gain support against Gatwick runways, slip under the administrative radar of planning.

To put this in context; go back and look to all the justifications from the gang of four regarding development and infrastructure and try to leverage in these new announcements for additional housing. The arguments don’t add up. I could understand how a plan for maybe 10 or 20 houses could be overlooked but just how do you have a series of discussions regarding development on a controversial area of land and then experience an apparent failure in due diligence to be able to disclose the potential addition of another five thousand houses. Was it saved in the wrong file server or sub-directory, was it stored over the road at the other council offices? If so can we then expect the prospect of merging our divided council administrative offices to be the answer to future development oversights? Then again maybe this Hobson’s choice of development is set up to further divide the North as we argue which of the two evils is lesser and whilst we are all distracted in those conversations we fail to note that Fire, Ambulance, Health, and care services, are being eroded as their capacity to cope; slowly diminished by the increasing number of new homes.

Would an amnesty provide a way to bring a sense of order without laying the question of guilt or responsibility at the feet of those who assemble decade long plans of strategic significance? Could we finally get a view as to how many road miles will be deployed across the district in answer to national policies?

One thing is certain; Hospitals, Fire and Health services won’t be developed with equal determination.