LETTER: Council should seize opportunity

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For some reason that only they know, the planners are trying to make the public believe that the North Horsham development proposal is the ONLY option that is ‘available’, ‘desirable’ or ‘deliverable’, but this is quite incorrect and very far from the truth.

Careful, unbiased examination of the facts reveals unequivocally that land currently controlled by a consortium of UK Developers to the west of Ifield, in the Horsham District and of similar acreage, could in fact deliver everything that is being proposed at the North Horsham site, and much more besides, without ANY of the quite serious problems and negative impacts that have already been identified and associated with the North Horsham proposals.

The owners of Gatwick airport have just recently announced their intention to build a second runway and West Sussex County Council have stated that they would be in favour of this, and supports their intention. An estimated 40,000 new jobs would be created in the Gatwick area as a result and Horsham could benefit immensely if new development was located west of Ifield because it is precisely the right area to best capitalise on, and take advantage of the situation.

Draft plans previously submitted by the developers show that new main road infrastructure linking this development directly to the ‘A’ road system, airport and M23 motorway would be provided.

The carbon footprint would be far, far lower than development at North Horsham because it would be right where all the jobs are and close to the airport.

It would cause absolutely zero increase in A264 congestion at peak times, unlike that created by North Horsham development.

It would NOT impinge on, reduce or compromise the Crawley/Horsham strategic gap in any way.

The land is not greenfield, agricultural and meadow land like North Horsham but consists mainly of unused, unusable marsh/scrubland and a private golf course which is previously developed and therefore classed as ‘brownfield’ land.

The planners have stated, quite wrongly that the golf club would need to be provided with a replacement course. The club does NOT, however, own the land and its lease expires in a few years’ time, so WHY the planners keep stating otherwise is a complete mystery.

A business park like that planned for North Horsham could just as easily be built in this location and it would have a huge advantage over it as it would have no problems attracting businesses, being right at the very heart of the new, expanded airport and associated infrastructure. In fact Horsham District Council would be foolish NOT to seize this unique upcoming opportunity to capitalise on the (very likely) airport expansion.

Laws recently passed would ensure that Crawley Borough Council would be obliged to assist, collaborate and to be generously helpful to Horsham in development of the west of Ifield site.

In addition, a large area of the land there is owned by the Homes and Communities Agency and would provide a large number of affordable, social rented homes for the thousands of people and families who have been unable for whatever reasons to buy a home of their own and have languished for years on the waiting list for those homes that are currently in such very short supply.

There is a railway station (Ifield) only a short walk or bike ride away (a quarter of a mile) for the new residents and workers who would occupy the development, but there is also in the pipeline a large, new, modern railway station at the new Kilnwood-Vale site now under construction which will be only one mile from the west of Ifield development. Fastway buses, cycle paths etc can all also be easily provided.

Why on earth the planners/councillors refuse to accept what is, after all, just plain commonsense but are justifying their decisions by reams of what comes across as gobbledegook, misinformation, fantasy, speculation and just plain BAD planning is a complete and utter mystery, to me and to anybody who takes the time and effort to look at the FACTS.

STEPHEN G COPPEN

Greenacres Ring, Angmering