Plan for ‘hideous’ apartments rejected by council

JPCT 020714 S14279999x Horsham, Hurst Road proposed development site -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140207-135635001
JPCT 020714 S14279999x Horsham, Hurst Road proposed development site -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140207-135635001

A ‘hideous’ scheme for 32 sheltered apartments for the elderly in Horsham town was refused by the council last week.

Churchill Retirement Living had seen a previous application for 33 sheltered apartments for the elderly on the corner of North Parade and Hurst Road rejected by Horsham District Council last year, a decision that was upheld by the planning inspector in January.

The company resubmitted plans with one less apartment and minor changes to the building design, but this too was thrown out by the council’s Development Control North Committee on Tuesday night.

Members felt the proposed four-storey building was out of keeping with the area, would harm the street scene, had insufficient parking, and could harm the protected turkey oak tree on site.

Michael Fadil, one of the objectors, said: “It’s an insult to the inspector and the council and to our town and is an attempt to ride roughshod over the council’s own planning guidelines.”

Clive Hamilton, who lives in North Parade, added: “This project does just not fit in.”

But Greg Hilton, speaking for Churchill said the scheme would allow elderly people who wanted to downsize to stay in the area.

David Holmes (LDem, Horsham Park) said there had been no significant change from the previously rejected scheme and they had no choice but to refuse it.

He added: “There is not significant change. It’s pushed back a bit but it has not significantly changed.”

He argued that the flats were ‘independent living’ apartments for the over 55s, not sheltered accommodation for the elderly, and should have proper parking, and expressed frustration at the provision of just £92,895 towards affordable housing.

Frances Haigh (LDem, Hosham Park) added: “The planning team must ensure they [the developer] have met with the neighbourhood councils to ensure the application meets local aspirations.

“It’s our town.”

Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) argued that since much of the eastern end of Hurst Road and its civic buildings could be redeveloped in the coming years, the council had to get the scheme right or it could set a precedent for future projects.

Christine Costin (LDem, Trafalgar) added: “North Parade is one of the finest streets we have. This would be hideous, absolutely hideous and Christian Mitchell is right we have to think about Hurst Road for the future. I could not support this.”