Issues that need urgent action

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There have been a number of good letters and articles, not least from the Horsham Society, regarding redevelopment of the Novartis site.

However, as a local resident in Parsonage Road, I feel there are a few more wider issues that need urgent attention by the authorities.

When Novartis was built, Parsonage Road was one length with a number of dwellings particularly at the east end. Foundry Lane stopped halfway along its present length from the wood yard, and Parsonage Way was a track to the farm with the level crossing gates being worked slowly by hand. The increased traffic from Novartis could then be accommodated.

Since that time Foundry Lane has been extended to feed into Parsonage Road and allow for the considerable sized industrial estate to be developed. Parsonage Way was created from Parsonage Road to feed into another industrial estate, the now developed farm storing very heavy earth moving equipment and a caravan park, and around 30 more houses.

Around 50 new houses feed directly into Parsonage Road via Ringley Road, as well as the blocks of flats nearby. Significantly, the level crossing is now automated so works more quickly creating a ratrun.

Several years ago the ‘powers that be’ decided, without our knowledge, to place parking restrictions on Parsonage Road but allow parking along most of Foundry Lane where most of the traffic, particularly Heavy Goods Vehicles, should pass.

A weight limit was imposed on Parsonage Road to protect the weak railway bridge but, as the police website clearly states, police no longer enforce road tax or road weight limits, so nobody takes any notice.

The demise of Novartis did, for a time, reduce traffic volumes in Parsonage Road.

However, the 300 odd flats now built on Novartis sports ground have provided a vast increase in traffic. Add to that a new Lidl store due to open in about a year in Foundry Lane and the heavy impact of the North Horsham development, this road will not be able to cope.

So West Sussex County Council wish to develop the main Novartis site with another 300 or more houses and many more industrial units: the main content of all this is still fluid.

So how is this new, very high volume of traffic going to get to and from this major complex?

It would be wrong to just complain about impending disaster without offering some possible solutions. With all the mass of housebuilding throughout Horsham in recent years no new roads have been built; there may be replacements but no additional roads. The authorities have sanctioned all this new building without investment or improvements to infrastructure.

There can only be pedestrian and cycle access from this site onto Parsonage Road. A new bridge and road can be built from the east end of the site to skew over the railway line and join into Foundry Lane pointing to, and just short of, the large roundabout.

Traffic can then go directly into the major route of Harwood Road. It would also be possible to create another bridge over the railway into Hurst Avenue and so disperse traffic and pedestrians towards the town centre.

The road between the two gate houses, which can then be preserved, must also be taken away, with entry and egress to that end of the site directly into Richmond Road, so dispersing more traffic.

One of the main conditions of developing this site must be that the new road from Foundry Lane directly into Novartis must be completed before any other work commences.

All site traffic can then use this route as more industrial traffic along Parsonage Road would be intolerable for local residents.

Nick Zambuni

Parsonage Road, Horsham