LETTER: Councillors risk losing our votes

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Your letters

I am writing this letter to appeal to your readers to take action against the proposed development to the north of the A264.

I have read with interest the articles and letters that have appeared in your newspaper and I must state that I have lived in North Horsham for the past 13 years.

I have found Horsham to be a wonderful place to live and to bring up children, however I fear that the proposed new development is a tipping point that if accepted will destroy forever the community and semi-rural feel of this wonderful market town.

It appears to me that the proposed development is a case of the local councillors giving in to the pressure they are under from Central Government and the developers who are only interested in building an industrial park, serviced by another train station north of Horsham, to increase their profits.

I want to appeal to the local people of this community and to the councillors. Before I proceed I would like to state that until this point I believe the councillors of the Horsham area to have done a good job balancing the need for development with preserving a community that is a pleasure to live in; unfortunately, I believe this development will destroy that balance irretrievably.

To your readers who live in Horsham, I ask them to consider whether they value living in a community which has such a wonderful balance of life; with both easy access to beautiful countryside, manageable traffic congestion inside and around Horsham and housing developments which have enabled a local community to grow and flourish.

If they do not value these things then they need do nothing and stand by whilst developers build initially 2,500 houses (know and wake up to the fact that this will become 4,500 before the ink is dry on the original plan), a massive industrial park and a new train station that will destroy the strategic gap between Horsham and Crawley and our green belt.

Previous articles have explained how this will lead to much more congestion on the A264 and A24 and to a downgrading of the Littlehaven station, which will destroy the communities of North Horsham and Roffey by ensuring massive congestion as more people drive to either Horsham or the new proposed station.

We live in a democracy which is imperfect and the reality is that our system of government, both national and local, works through lobbying and pressure groups.

Developers play the game of applying pressure on local government and hope that the local population will not wake up to the reality of the implications until it is too late.

It is critical that we use all means at our disposal now to apply maximum pressure on the councillors to force them to reconsider and to vote against the plan.

We must write letters to the County Times and let our councillors know that we oppose the proposed development plan and that any councillors who agree to the plan will not be supported by the electors next time they ask for us to allow them to continue to be our representatives.

Our councillors have a solemn duty to uphold the community that has called on them to represent us and preserve our interests; if they fail to execute that duty then they can expect only one outcome.

To the councillors of Horsham District Council, I ask them to consider again whether they truly believe in their hearts that the proposed development plan is in the long-term interests of the Horsham community; will it preserve the community feel of this wonderful, vibrant market town and enable it to continue to be a place that people love to live?

This proposed development plan has been presented by some councillors as the only viable solution to the need to support the economic growth of the wider Sussex, but I would like to suggest that this is a falsehood and the product of unimaginative and uncreative thinking.

Building a massive industrial park and many thousands of new houses across our green belt will not automatically ensure the revitalised economic development of the area, and I think we all know that.

The type of economic development that this county and the country as a whole needs is export-driven and high-margin economic activity, both of which require critical and creative thinking to ensure that the right type of companies are attracted into the area and that we have the people with the right skills to work in these new and growing businesses.

Therefore, it is incumbent on our locally elected representatives to reconsider this plan and to come up with a more elegant and creative solution that will balance the need for more quality and affordable housing, with support for businesses in terms of investment and training and the encouragement for people to develop the skills that are required in a new and rapidly changing world economy.

Merely rolling out the unimaginative and frankly tiresome old story that allowing developers to build what they want will somehow create economic growth and a community that we actually want to live in, is a plan that I think all councillors know is less than they are capable of.

I call on all the councillors involved in deciding whether this plan is accepted or rejected – search your heart and your conscience, remember what it is that you value as respected members of this community and live up to the faith placed in you by this local community.

Remember who you aspire to be, what you are capable of and why you have chosen to be our local representatives, and please go back to the drawing board.

Do not accept the old arguments that there are no alternatives; create the alternatives. Do not accept the pressure from central government and developers that the existing plan has to be accepted now and to their timetable; we will support you when you stand up and suggest a new plan and a new timetable.

Do not fail in your duty to continue to do the right thing for this community; support a plan that continues to invest in a future where Horsham knows both economic growth and a community worth living in and fighting for. We know that you can do that.


Byron Close, Horsham