Wealdcross: Thakeham answers your questions
The best communities are created by engaging with the people who matter most. That’s why this update is for you and the issues that you have raised in your online discussions on recent news about Wealdcross and the new £5 million green bridge - the biggest biodiversity project in Sussex history.
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment on our plans in social media. At every stage of the planning process, even when we don’t agree, your insights inspire us to continue doing all we can to deliver a better future for Wealdcross and Horsham District.
We are not a far-away corporate. We are Horsham residents just like you. We work and live alongside you. We know how important this is.
Hopefully, below, we have answered the issues that are important to you. If you still have unanswered questions please have your say by contacting us through the Wealdcross website www.wealdcross.com
From your discussions: “The developers plan this bridge but then suddenly there is a problem and it doesn't happen. Easy to promise but so often fail to deliver.”
Yes. The green bridge is not easy to deliver. But worthwhile projects rarely are.
For Thakeham we promise to build schools and we deliver them. We promise to provide hospices and we deliver them. We promised to deliver the new Seeley Copse Study Centre and we did. We promise to improve road junctions and we do.
No matter how many times we deliver infrastructure improvements before homes are completed, some people will want to hear more. We understand.
The new £4 million Woodgate Primary School is a great example. It shows how Thakeham delivers on its promises. The school opens this year, before the development is finished. The 210-pupil school at Pease Pottage in West Sussex will offer five classrooms, a main hall, library, multifunctional space and a special educational needs room. This will save a local school threatened with closure.
We are happy to share other examples of promises we keep. But it boils down to this: We are from Horsham. Most of our employees and subcontractors come from West Sussex. The idea of not delivering on promises made to our families and neighbours, let alone residents, is simply not an option.
You have seen that we have publicly shared our intentions for Wealdcross and the new green bridge. We are now accountable to tens of thousands of Horsham District residents for that promise, and many more detailed in our plans.
Thakeham is building our business on proven delivery. The moment we fail to deliver on our promises our business is in jeopardy. Just like you, that is not something we would tolerate.
From your discussions: “Where are the wildlife going to go on a housing estate?”
Housebuilders must meet minimum standards with something called net biodiversity. It’s a scientific government-approved formula used to demonstrate how Wealdcross will create better wildlife habitats than the current intensive agriculture.
This work is supported by expert ecologists and landscape designers.
Put simply, Thakeham believes in creating a more species-rich, connected habitat for native wildlife - leaving the planet in a better state than we found it. With our own vision for zero carbon placemaking, we know we can deliver a 20% biodiversity net gain at Wealdcross, and a huge improvement to the connectivity for nature by adding 4.2km hedgerows.
Buck Barn is currently just arable land, but with the potential to be so much more. We will implement our biodiversity principles to ensure that this significant improvement is achieved as an intrinsic part of Thakeham’s industry-leading zero carbon placemaking, and to the benefit of surrounding natural spaces.
There are already country estates in Sussex that successfully operate a portfolio of residential and commercial properties, whilst conserving nature and improving biodiversity.These estates inspire Thakeham to create sustainable communities. They prove that nature and sustainable buildings and infrastructure can thrive together without any risk of damaging the environment.
At Thakeham, our own local experiences back this up, and have formed our biodiversity principles. These principles have been implemented at a Thakeham development in Surrey. On completion, it was independently assessed by Surrey Wildlife Trust to deliver a 41.38% biodiversity net gain.
From your discussions: “Use brown sites there's plenty of them”
In Horsham this is not the case.
The total number of homes listed on the Horsham Brownfield Land Register (2020) without planning permission is 78. That’s why the proposals for Wealdcross are vital, to ensure that new homes, including 40% affordable homes, can be created while respecting and enhancing the natural environment.
Sussex is blessed with a rich mosaic of habitats across the county, many rightly protected as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI).
But the land at Buck Barn has no such challenges.
That means that whilst meeting nature’s needs, we can also meet the needs of local people in Horsham District. We can ease the burden on local schooling. We can invest in and enhance local infrastructure. We can create a new community for all.
From your discussions: “no schools no doctors no dentist no mention of traffic pollution”
Wealdcross includes a new secondary school, two new primary schools and a local centre with healthcare provision.
Better still, Thakeham partners with The Plunkett Foundation to establish new community businesses and create vibrant, resilient and sustainable places to live and work at the very heart of each new community.
Community Businesses have a 95% Long-Term Survival Rate This proven resilience secures vital local services that bring communities together.
At Wealdcross, Thakeham will gift facilities including shops, cafe, co-workspace, and allotments. The co-workspace offers flexible office space for entrepreneurs and start-ups, with desk space, meeting rooms, and light-touch laboratory space. At Woodgate in Pease Pottage, we are already working with local people to establish a community business.
We are building and gifting to the community a coffee shop and local shop. Community facilities are provided debt free, owned by the community for the community. Community businesses are important because they empower locals and enrich communities. Crucially, at Wealdcross, each community business that Thakeham establishes will be able to start operating with zero debt attached.
On pollution, as part of encouraging a sustainable future, all homes will have fast electric car charging points and we will provide a £3,000 incentive towards an electric car on house purchase, and further incentives for e-bikes too.
Wealdcross will also be the place for greener travel, with interlinking cycle routes and secure cycle storage for apartments and houses. There’s a pedestrian-friendly village centre, and the new primary and secondary schools on-site means car use is greatly reduced. When people want to travel further afield, Wealdcross is also being integrated into the local bus network.
If you still have unanswered questions please have your say by contacting us through the Wealdcross website www.wealdcross.com