DEVELOPER: Residents should ‘embrace opportunity’ on North of Horsham development

A sketch of a possible business unit in the North Horsham development.
A sketch of a possible business unit in the North Horsham development.

Adam Walker, director at Horsham-based Crickmay Chartered Surveyors and property advisor to developer Liberty Property Trust, provides some background to proposals for North Horsham.

Following the recent letters to this paper and the North Horsham Parish Council meeting, we are aware of a number of misleading statements that are being circulated about the proposed development in North Horsham.

Horsham District Council is consulting on the plans and will take into account the views of local residents.

The site, which is currently largely inaccessible to the public, would not be an industrial wasteland but rather a high quality development with a mix of residential and modern office buildings, community facilities, a new railway station, schools, food retail, leisure and extensive open space.

The local education authority has confirmed that there are no planned changes to school catchment areas.

This will not create a ‘Crawsham’ as the majority of the development would be to the north of the town. Therefore, there will be no detrimental impact on the current gap between Horsham and Crawley.

We are not proposing ‘a mass of boxes with postage stamp gardens’ but a mix of high quality housing. A substantial part of the new site would provide woodland and wetland areas, in addition to the space allowed for green infrastructure and outdoor recreation.

The land north of the A264 will become accessible with the creation of a country park.

The proposed development will not be an orphan settlement but one that has its own character and will be well connected to the existing built up area of Horsham via sustainable public transport links including a landmark bridge, road level footways and cycle paths. There are no new underpasses planned.

We are very aware that the infrastructure is key to the success of the site and the benefits that it will bring to Horsham Town. This is the ultimate sustainable development due to its proximity to the existing infrastructure and the town.

As part of improved junction design to the A264, commercial and general traffic would be diverted away from the lower residential section of Langhurstwood Road, thereby improving quality of life for existing residents.

This is not a rushed development. We have been working very closely on this scheme for the last three years with Liberty Property Trust, an experienced masterplan developer with an enviable track record. Horsham District Council has been consulting on possible sites since 2009.

The world-class business park proposed will provide a high quality office environment with first class technology. Without these new facilities, Horsham will fail to attract new occupiers to the district and runs the risk of losing existing businesses to Crawley and beyond.

The park would create economic growth creating upwards of 4,000 new jobs and confirm Horsham as a major player in the Gatwick Diamond Initiative.

There is a demand for high quality commercial buildings in the region but currently there is a lack of suitable stock in the Horsham district. We are already in discussions with a local occupier seeking a 7,000sqm high quality office and research and development facility and we are aware of a number of regional requirements from major organisations that we believe would look to relocate to Horsham’s new business park.

The development will not cause property prices to plummet.

Contrary to the national trend, property values have been retained throughout the recession at Kings Hill, Liberty’s mixed-use development in Kent. This is due to the emphasis that is placed on quality and creating a place to live, work and relax.

Far from being ‘a greedy developer’, Liberty continually invests in the community with the latest example being a £4 million sports park, which was handed over to the residents of Kings Hill and will be managed by the parish council.

I have worked in Horsham for the last 22 years and am passionate about the town and its future. I hope local residents will embrace this opportunity for the area.