‘Villages will have to get bigger’

Brian O'Connell, Conservative councillor for Henfield
Brian O'Connell, Conservative councillor for Henfield

Villages across the Horsham district ‘are going to have to get bigger’ in order to take more houses, according to one councillor.

Horsham District Council’s planning framework, which was approved in November 2015, includes a target of 800 homes a year up to 2031, but an early review of the plan is set to start later this year.

DM17311174a.jpg. A27, Arundel. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170703-121854008

DM17311174a.jpg. A27, Arundel. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-170703-121854008

Brian O’Connell (Con, Henfield) argued that villages in the countryside ‘do not want more houses’ and instead of increasing the built up area of settlements much of the current development was being earmarked on land within existing boundaries.

He said: “Realistically if we are going to build more houses and create more business opportunities we are not going to do it within existing built up area boundaries. They are going to have to change.

“Villages are going to have to get bigger. We can’t keep cramming stuff into smaller spaces.”

His comments came at an Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting last Monday (April 3), during a discussion of air quality issues in Storrington.

Ben Staines (Con, Bramber, Upper Beeding and Woodmancote) asked if air pollution would be an item that needed to be added in the review of the council’s planning framework.

He said: “We can’t expect to put more development in the Storrington area if it’s going to generate more traffic.”

David Coldwell (Con, Bramber, Upper Beeding and Woodmancote) replied: “I think it’s substantially outside the scope of the HDPF [Horsham District Planning Framework]. The real solution to the Storrington pollution and to a lot of other pollution actually lies in sorting out the A27, because Storrington is used as a rat run by lorries trying to bypass Arundel.”

Highways England is due to hold a consultation this summer on a by-pass at Arundel.

Toni Bradnum (Con, Nuthurst) explained that Storrington was not alone in the district, as Cowfold had a ‘pretty poor air quality reading’.

She added: “There’s no answer to this for places like Cowfold. We are never going to have a by-pass or anything like that. I agree that the A27 could be improved and would improve Storrington, but for places like Cowfold I would have thought there was not much that can be done.”

According to a briefing note by council officers schemes currently being considered for Storrington include changes to lorry turning movements between School Hill and Manleys Hill and vice versa, and advisory lorry route signage improvements.

The note continues: “Regarding particulate matter specifically, the council is working to address this pollutant through measures aimed at reducing emissions from road transport and, in particular, through increasing the uptake of low emission vehicles.

“All new development in the district is required to have regard to the planning advice document: Air Quality and Emissions Reduction Guidance (published in May 2014), which sets out air quality mitigation/offsetting measures commensurate with its size/predicted impacts.

“The council has also supported the development and maintenance of the regional eV charge point network “Energise” with two points in the district classified as ‘rapid’ - installed in Billingshurst (Six Bells car park) and Storrington (Library car park).”

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