Act of betrayal

IT IS clear that there is mounting anger and dismay in both Horsham district and the country generally about the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework.

The ambition of the Government as stated seems to be swamp our cornfields, green pastures and ancient woodland with houses, which is supposed to cure all our economic ills, and that to me seems very unlikely.

The tide of proposed new building is appalling to all but those with land to sell and developers with shareholders to satiate. In your sister paper the West Sussex Gazette of August 31 alone there are references to plans for 700 houses at Durrington by Worthing, at Marringdean Road, Billingshurst (150) and at Yapton (173).

At the same time, the County Times features plans to build yet another 550 houses east of Billingshurst, while the ink is hardly dry on my objection to the proposal to construct 550 houses at Southwater. Yet the Government intends to make it easier for developers to obtain planning permission. Armageddon must be approaching.

Recently, I wrote to our Member of Parliament, Francis Maude, to express my horror at what is proposed. His reply, unusually, did not address the points I raised and it turns out was a copy of a letter received by two other of his constituents living in Billingshurst parish.

Most importantly, he ignored the charge that I had levelled against him, which was that this proposed legislation would be an act of treachery on the part of the Conservative Party and the Government, for which they would not be forgiven.

However, there is a glimmer of hope for those who see the prospect of life in a rural idyll disappearing into a Los Angeles type sprawl.

The Government has managed to alienate the RSPB, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, The Woodland Trust, the World Wildlife Fund, Friends of the Earth and the National Trust, besides me and my friends, within the space of 14 months.

This is no mean achievement considering that the people involved in these organisations tend to be sober, thoughtful and law-abiding members of the community, who tend to express themselves well and make opinion.

Moreover, large numbers of them are the bedrock of Conservative support and if their views are trampled roughshod, it seems to me likely the Conservative Party will face annihilation at the next general election, whenever that may be.


The Coopers, Itchingfield