Any advance on 800 homes a year?

So, an unelected Civil Servant, Planning Inspector Geoff Salter, has decreed that Horsham District has to accept even more new housing over the development plan period to 2031.

From the original 575 per annum the number rose to 625, then 650, then 750 and now it’s 800 a year. Any advance on 800 a year, Mr Salter?

Oh apparently, according to Cllr Claire Vickers, Horsham District Council will have to review the plan within the next three years ‘with a view to identifying extra numbers that may be required’.

So I think we can safely predict that 800 will still not be the final figure. The Keep Southwater Green campaign asking for a line to be drawn in the sand now sounds like wishful thinking to me. Whatever happened to Prime Minister Cameron’s much-vaunted ‘localism’? It sank into the quicksand presumably.

Mr Salter seems to have plucked this latest figure from the air without any accompanying reliable statistics and has apparently relied on the ‘oral evidence’ supplied by the ever-hungry housing developers at the resumed hearing on 3rd July.

The ‘note’ he sent the council said that he felt ‘no party’s interest would be seriously prejudiced if the number of 800 dwellings per annum were to be included in the Horsham District Planning Framework without further advertisement for comment’.

You bet he didn’t want any further comments! His edict about even more housing for the district apparently takes for granted that the ill-famed North Horsham development is a fait accompli – even before a planning application has been put forward by Liberty, the American developer.

No mention has been made of the lamentable lack of plans for all the necessary infrastructure to support this massive new development if, heaven forbid, it should go ahead.

In response to questions I put to the Council for their meeting on June 24th, I received a written reply stating ‘any new infrastructure that is required on land north of Horsham must be provided in time to serve each development phase’.

This disingenuous answer completely ignores my reference to the necessary upgrading of the notorious A24 and my questions: ‘What mechanism will the Council put in place to ensure that the necessary infrastructure will be in place before the site is occupied?’ and ‘Who is going to pay for this and what exactly is Horsham District Council going to do to ensure that Liberty Property Trust puts in its fair share of the finance in order to ensure the safety of Horsham District’s residents using this stretch of road?’.

C. Morris’ lead letter in last week’s paper certainly hit the nail on the head. He said that one can only marvel that such a huge failure in the transport planning process has been allowed to occur. I wholeheartedly agree with Harry Shutt’s letter too.

Now is the time to revisit the well thought out and detailed alternative plan put forward by some of our councillors last year.

Otherwise I fear that if the Horsham District Planning Framework is nodded through as it stands, the local population will be left with a completely shambolic local transport system.


Dorking Road, Warnham

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