‘We lost the battle but not the war’ say North Horsham campaigners

North Horsham Parish Council hosted meeting on proposed development north of the A264 (JJP/Johnston Press).
North Horsham Parish Council hosted meeting on proposed development north of the A264 (JJP/Johnston Press).

Campaigners told a crowded public meeting that ‘they had lost the battle but not the war’ on large-scale housebuilding north of Horsham.

Around 120 people turned up to the North Horsham Parish Council-hosted meeting on Monday night to inform residents about the current six week period of representation running on Horsham District Council’s housing blueprint and how residents can comment.

The Horsham District Planning Framework Proposed Submission, which includes 2,500 homes and a new business park north of the A264, was approved in April by HDC and then published for a six week period of representation.

After that closes the plan, along with comments, will be sent to the planning inspector who will test its soundness in a series of public examination hearings later this year.

The crowd applauded the County Times for its coverage of the North Horsham issue, but the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the news that NHPC has appointed a barrister to represent it at the planning inquiry.

Roger Wilton, chairman of North Horsham Parish Council, said: “It’s important that North Horsham does its utmost to make sure your views are properly represented as this process moves forward.”

Geoffrey Richardson, a leading voice against the proposals, criticised the Tory district councillors representing wards in Horsham town who either abstained or voted for the plan in April.

He explained: “They didn’t support us and continue to issue threats as to the consequences of not following like poodles in the footsteps of their authoritarian leader Ray Dawe.”

He added: “April 30 - the Full Council meeting, we lost the battle, but not the war.

“Legal opinion is we still have a chance because basically this plan is flawed and in terms of planning law it could well be rejected by an independent inspector.”

HDC published its preferred strategy, which included the North Horsham proposals, out for consultation last summer.

However it faced widespread criticism that only one option had been put out for consultation.

Mr Wilton said that anyone who wanted to reply to the plan online could visit Roffey Millennium Hall to use their computer and receive any technical assistance.

Facilities are also available at Horsham Library.

The period of representation closes on Friday June 27.

For more see p.12-15 and letters p.40.