A development for 27 homes on an already ‘dangerous’ junction have been given the go-ahead on a narrow vote despite road safety concerns.
The plans submitted to Horsham District Council for 21 houses and six flats to be built at Farthings Hill, Horsham near the Guildford Road junction of the A24, were submitted by Crest Nicholson following earlier plans being refused in December.
In the new plans they have decreased the number of units from 29 to 27 and changed the layout, but at Tuesday’s meeting of the development control committee north, residents and councillors remained worried about the speed of traffic coming off the roundabout.
Local member David Sheldon (LDem, Denne) said a presentation given to members by West Sussex County Council Highways beforehand showed they had thoroughly investigated it and not found any reason to refuse it on the grounds of road safety.
Also traffic lights approved for the Farthings Hill roundabout aim to mitigate traffic build-up resulting from the larger developments on the A24.
Mr Sheldon said: “I’m entirely in agreement (with residents) in terms of concerns about traffic, but we find ourselves in a situation where the highways authority has reviewed it and I am assured by their comments and they have properly done so.
“We are hampered by the prior approval of the care home application, which came in after the Broadbridge Heath and West of Horsham developments.”
Ian Howard (Con, Southwater) and Jim Rae (Con, Holbrook East) agreed they had little choice, but other councillors, including the other local member Laurence Deakins disagreed.
He proposed a motion for the plans to be refused and said: “I don’t think we should second guess an appeal. This is not the platform for that, but for members to say what they think and vote accordingly.”
Mr Deakins won the support of eight members, but ten members voted against refusal and the plans went through.
Reacting to the decision residents were angry that councillors seemed more concerned about a possible appeal if they chose to refuse the decision.
Annette Hancock of Loxwood, Farthings Hill said: “It’s sad that the councillors didn’t vote for what they really believe. They know it’s a dangerous road, but they going to wash their hands of it. They are more worried about the appeal.”
Jonathan Copeland, who spoke to the committee before the debate, said: “It’s still a divided council because the vote was so close.
“It’s even more concerning that the councillors are more concerned about what might happened to them rather than face up to their responsibility. It’s a dangerous road and it will still be a dangerous road (with the added signalling).”
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