LETTER: Destruction of our historic town

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I strongly object to the proposed plans to build on the green field area of North Horsham.

My understanding is that the express intention of councillors on the District Council states that the construction of the A264 between the Great Daux Roundabout and the Moorhead roundabout from the 1990s marked a clear and impenetrable line to stop development in the strategic gap between Horsham and Crawley. Have the present council considered that this strategy was in place for a purpose?

Why are councillors ignoring available viable sites for new housing, including even large council-owned lands within the town boundary and derelict sites in prime locations, seemingly ripe for rejuvenation? Why are they even considering an industrial estate of enormous size when there does not appear to be a future demand for it? Have they even consulted available statistics for future trends? Can anyone indicate if there will be a significant demand? Perhaps not!

An empty industrial wasteland and the destruction of green fields could potentially destroy our historic market town as we know it.

What new amenities are being offered to facilitate this proposal? Horsham is facing a sudden population explosion with no time for these new citizens to integrate naturally into the community. It is a sociological time bomb. Horsham has not yet begun to feel the impact of the thousands of new occupants about to move into all the housing already in progress in and around the town. Plans for the infrastructure to support these people seem woefully lacking.

Why have no alternative sites or distributions of housing across the district been presented? Is this a valid consultation? Where is the choice?

Is it true that Ms Vickers and her colleagues suggested to Southwater residents that they would ensure no further development there if a proposed development plan was accepted? If so, how can this happen? How can individual councillors, not least the person who is allegedly responsible for the choice of site of North Horsham and is the originator and most vocal proponent of this naive and ill considered plan, make such promises, and for 20 years hence, to a single constituency, ahead of the consultation taking place? Ahead of the HDC vote? What influence are developers wielding?

Councillor Vickers and her colleagues should consult history before trying to plan the future. ‘Build it and they will come’ does not work. New towns remain ‘New Towns’. Consider Stevenage, Havant and Crawley itself to name but a few. Any unnatural expansion has the potential to destroy the character of the original town, and perhaps the sense of contentment of its residents. After all, happiness is a commodity worthy of consideration too. It may already be too late, considering what is already happening, but the proposed development in North Horsham will be the coup de grace for a beautiful and historic town.

Perhaps the assumption of HDC has obfuscated their understanding of democracy? They are elected representatives and clearly they carry some responsibility to represent the electorate?

Whatever the outcomes of the appalling sociological experiment that is the proposal to desecrate North Horsham in particular and Horsham in general, the electorate should not make the same errors next time they have a chance to elect those who are required to take our needs and wishes into consideration. Of course, by then it may be too late. Our precious green belt will be destroyed, those who are able, will move away, and Crawsham with everything the name represents, will be a reality.

Lyn Thorpe

Lemmington Way, Horsham