New employment sites for Horsham district proposed

Artists' impression of plans for a science and business park at the former Novartis site in Horsham (photo submitted) SUS-160501-094312001
Artists' impression of plans for a science and business park at the former Novartis site in Horsham (photo submitted) SUS-160501-094312001

New employment sites across the Horsham district have been proposed as part of the council’s review of its local plan.

The Horsham District Planning Framework was adopted in November 2015 and allocates housing and employment sites up to 2031.

However when it was signed off by the planning inspector he stipulated an early review be carried out.

The first stage will look at Horsham District Council’s strategy for economic development looking at a ‘locational strategy’ for growth and areas which may have the potential to be allocated for employment use.

An Issues and Options – Employment, Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development document is set to be discussed by cabinet members tonight (Thursday March 22).

It is due to be approved for seven weeks of public consultation starting on Friday April 6.

The document reviews the key employment area boundaries, which protect sites for employment use, and also proposes new areas.

Existing sites could also be designated.

According to the document: “It is emphasised that the sites set out in this document are for consultation purposes only and do not form council policy.

“The total land available for employment growth exceeds the total that is likely to be required, and this consultation is therefore a starting point in considering the potential of these sites.

“This will need to be tested through the full sustainability appraisal process, habitat regulations assessment and the cumulative impact will need to be considered with other development proposals within and beyond the district.”

Major new employment sites include:

• Land south of the Hillier Garden Centre off Brighton Road, Horsham

“There may therefore be some potential for employment growth in this location given the relative proximity to roads and the main town of Horsham. It would however be necessary to undertake further landscape and ecological studies given the greenfield and well treed nature of the site.”

• Former Novartis site in Horsham

“The former Novartis site has a history of high level research and development employment and the principle of employment use on this site has already been established. The site is well located in the main town of the district and would provide employment to support residents of the town and the wider Gatwick Diamond.

“It is therefore considered that this site has significant potential for reuse to provide a key employment site within the town.”

• Land off the Buck Barn Crossroads

“Although the sites are close to the A24 and the A272 there is no means of accessing these sites by anything other than private vehicles. The sites are also on an existing junction, and gaining access to the site may be difficult to achieve in terms of maintaining existing traffic movements and road safety.

“The cost of any solution could therefore impact the viability of any development coming forward in this location.”

• Land west of the petrol station off the Hop Oast roundabout near Southwater

“Although close to the strategic road network, there is currently no direct access to the site and further work would be required to understand if this could be achieved. The site is also bisected by a high pressure gas main which can limit the amount of development which can take place in the easements along these pipelines.

“Any potential for development in this location would also be dependent on the availability of this site for such a purpose being confirmed.”

• Nowhurst Business Park off Guildford Road

“This is a previously developed site part of which was formerly used as a Civil Engineering Contractors depot and a motor salvage depot. All that remains is the concrete access road and a few corrugated roof buildings at the extreme south of the site. The rest of the site has been crushed and flattened and vegetation growing from the remains of former brick and concrete structures gives an undeveloped appearance.”

Officers added: “Given the need for employment development and the previous commercial use on this site, there is considered to be potential for allocating land on this site for employment development (B1, B2 and B8 uses) should the planning proposals for this site not come forward.

“The extent of any allocation would however need to be considered to take account of the relatively rural surroundings and the sensitive nature of some of the surrounding buildings.

“The design and uses of any scheme would also need to be sensitively designed to take this into account. Should the development proposals take place as set out in DC/17/2131, designation as a KEA should be considered in the longer term.”

• Rosier Commercial Centre in Coneyhurst Lane near Billingshurst

“This site already has potential for expansion within the existing built form, but due to the direct access to the strategic road network and the relative proximity to Billingshurst it is considered there may be some potential for future employment growth in this location. Any development proposals in this location will need to take account of other landholdings and legal agreements that may exist on the surrounding land in this area.”

• Land south of the Star Road Industrial Estate in Partridge Green

“This site is considered to have potential for employment development including an expansion of the existing site. There may be some potential for consolidation or relocation of existing uses on the Star and Huffwood Estates on this land, but there should be no loss of land for employment as a result of any such proposals.

“The delivery of such a scheme would however require the agreement of both landowners. It may also be possible for such development to come forward through a neighbourhood plan, should such a proposal be providing local scale rather than strategic employment development.”

• Land at Brinsbury College

“The principle of some development which supports education or the rural economy is already supported in this location. Given the open nature of this landscape it is considered that an allocation in this location should identify a clear area in which future growth would be considered acceptable to minimise landscape harm, and the perceived coalescence between Pulborough and Billingshurst.

“There will be a need to support a wide range of businesses in the district in the future including those which support the rural economy in the district.”

• Broomers Hill Park north of Codmore Hill

“There is a 3.0km area of land to the south of this site and adjoining with the BUAB at Codmore Hill which is considered may be suitable for allocation as an area for employment development, which would enable the expansion of this site and support employment development within the southern part of Horsham district.”

• Land next to Spring Copse Business Park off Maydwell Avenue in Slinfold

“The site is well contained in the landscape and some of the woodland to the south is designated as ancient woodland – any development would need to take account of this. It is however considered that this area could be a suitable site for additional employment growth linking to existing employment which adjoins this area. This would however be dependent on the availability of this site for such a purpose being confirmed.”

• Land west of the Lawson Hunt Industrial Park off the A281 in Broadbridge Heath

“The site is accessible to the road network and is already close to existing employment land. This would help enable any businesses to expand into more modern units in the current area should they choose to do so. It is considered that the site would be suitable for B1, B2, B8 uses.

“It would however be necessary to undertake further work on the landscape sensitivity of this site, and if allocated it would be necessary to ensure that any impacts on the surrounding countryside is minimised.”

• Land north of Hilland Farm, Billingshurst

“Given the proximity of this site to existing and future development to the east of Billingshurst, together with the direct access to the strategic road network, it is considered there may be some potential for future employment growth in this location. This would however need to be designed to ensure that landscape impacts in particular could be mitigated.”

• Land west of Hilland Roundabout, Billingshurst

“The site is relatively unconstrained but is located in predominantly open landscape particularly to the north and west although it is screened and although there is some vegetation around this site screening is very limited, which would mean that development is likely to be visible within the landscape unless this can be mitigated. The perception of any settlement coalescence between Billingshurst and Five Oaks to the north would also need to be considered. Barbastelle bats, which are a protected species, have been recorded in the area.”

• Graylands Estate, Langhurstwood Road, Horsham

“The central section of this site is considered suitable for designation as a KEA but there may also be capacity for further development of this site into the 1.2ha field to the east.”

• Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road, Horsham

“There is 1.57ha of land for sale which could accommodate two more similar sized buildings with associated car parking space on land opposite the existing two office buildings.”

• Toat Cafe site off Stane Street north of Codmore Hill

This has been put forward for a possible rural tourism or hotel use.

The document added: “This site may have potential as a wedding venue, weekend lodges or local gastronomy centre.”•

What do you think? Email the newsdesk.