New round in residents’ battle to stop 473 houses being built on Horsham farmland
A new round in a residents’ battle to halt the building of 473 houses on Horsham farm fields has now been launched.
A public inquiry is starting today (May 25) into a developer’s plans to build the houses on land at Newhouse Farm off Old Crawley Road, Roffey.
Horsham District Council turned down the proposals last July following a massive public protest against the planned development.
But real estate company FCP Land 4 Ltd lodged an appeal against the council’s decision and an inquiry into the proposals is now expected to last for two weeks from today.
Among those giving evidence is the campaign group Keep Our Green Spaces - KOGS - who maintain that the countryside site should be protected from development.
Horsham District Council originally rejected the proposals because the farmland is within a High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is within an essential countryside location and outside a defined built up area.
It also expressed concerns over a new access off Crawley Road and a lack of sufficient affordable housing.
However, FCP Land 4 says that the proposed development site is only partly within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and that its ‘distinctive landscape characteristics are less apparent.”
It maintains the land is partly adjacent to the built-up boundary of Horsham and is near the North Horsham site where 2,750 homes are being built, and is also near the Kilnwood Vale development of 2,500 houses at nearby Faygate.
The company maintains there is no neighbourhood plan for the area and that the Horsham District Planning Framework is more than five years old and out of date.
Opponents maintain that there is no local need for an extra 473 homes in the area.
The appeal is being heard and and will be decided by the Government’s planning inspectorate.