IS IT more than just a coincidence that, in the very week that HDC’s development management committee was expected to give Berkeley Homes the ‘green light’ to build on the green fields to the west of Southwater, households in the village received - ahead it seems of most others in the district - the spring edition of the council’s newsletter ‘Horsham District News’, containing a centre-page feature on its ‘How Much Housing Does Horsham District Need’ consultation?
Details of the eight-week consultation as there set out seem deliberately calculated to manipulate public opinion into endorsing the maximum number of new homes suggested by the ‘Locally Generated [sic] Needs Study’ (produced by London-based property consultants GL Hearn), not only by the use of emotive imagery (articulating the inchoate concerns of ‘ordinary people’), but by suggesting that particular house-building options will result in specific numbers of (sustainable?) new jobs.
Not only would no credible economist link specified housebuilding levels to such precise job numbers (preferring instead optimal ranges) - which in the case even of Option ‘D’ would increase local employment growth by only 0.4 per cent - but Southwater councillor Ian Howard has at January’s HDC cabinet meeting himself admitted that he doesn’t understand the ‘complex’ calculations behind GL Hearn’s recommended house-building numbers, yet appears only too willing to accept them without question, and evidently believes that the rest of us should do likewise!
The Laurels, Southwater