‘Picked on’ village wants an end to overdevelopment

Plans for a development of 550 houses in Billingshurst
Plans for a development of 550 houses in Billingshurst

‘PICKED ON’ was the feeling amongst Billingshurst councillors after being asked to consider amended plans for a development of 550 homes in the village.

Parish councillors hooked the opportunity to make their feelings known while discussing an amended planning application for a development on land east of Billingshurst at the council’s annual meeting on May 2.

Steven Buck turned to district councillor Gordon Lindsay (Con, Billingshurst and Shipley), and said he ‘despaired’ at what’s happened to his village.

He said: “If you really wanted to pick on a place this is an example of how you would do it.

“Having lived here 46 years of my 52 I think I know a bit about it. It bears no resemblance to my village I knew as a youngster. It’s basically urbanisation by the back door.

“Horsham is the only town in West Sussex that has invested so much in planning gain in their revenue streams and they are depending on the misery of Billingshurst.”

The main concern about the planning application, which was first received by HDC in August 2011, was the placement of a ‘spine road’ through the centre which could cause accidents.

Councillor Leslie Wilding said that she had been down to the site since it’s rained and saw backed up debris caused by inadequate drainage.

She said: “It worries me that the environment agency don’t have to come and see that and see how those people’s houses will be in dire consequences if it does rain.”

Chris Posgate, managing director at Devine Homes PLC, part of the Consortium that submitted the application, said he was ‘disappointed’ that the councillors did not seem to recognise the significant changes made to the application.

For more on the ‘overdevelopment’ of Billingshurst see p15.