Letter: Horsham housing document ‘not fit for purpose’

WE AGREE with David Holmes’ criticism of the forthcoming consultation document ‘How much housing does Horsham District need?’ (County Times January 19). It is not fit for purpose.

To give a choice of selecting one out of four housing target figure boxes will tend to encourage a tick in the lowest box despite it being much too high a figure (590 per annum).

Local people should be encouraged to say what they consider should be the housing target for the next 20 years. At very least a box marked ‘other number’ should be included.

The G.L. Hearn ‘Locally Generated Housing Needs’ study itself finds that Horsham district has done more than its fair share of providing housing over the last 20 years (1.1 per cent per annum increase as against a regional and county average of 0.6 per cent pa) which has increased its population by 22 per cent.

There are more working people living in Horsham district than are working in it - 10,000-plus more people commute out of Horsham than commute in. Therefore the Hearn study finds that whether or not zero net migration would constrain the economy is a moot point.

Certainly high additional house building will encourage still more out commuting and the excessive figures put forward by HDC would transform the nature of much of the district.

A target of 300 homes per annum would be enough to satisfy the zero net migration scenario and we consider that is a sensible, justifiable, realistic and more sustainable target given all the circumstances (the actual housing delivery over the last five years has averaged 263 per annum and over the last ten years has averaged 398pa).

As many of those as possible should be affordable housing to purchase for local people or people who will work here. That is what HDC should be seeking - innovative ways to provide together with more local employment opportunities.

Hopefully your readers will respond to the forthcoming consultation by HDC (scheduled for February 10 to March 23) and reject all the four choices ranging between 590 and 730 houses per annum put forward by HDC as excessive, irresponsible and unsustainable, and substitute their own considered figure.

Mr and Mrs S. PULLING

Kithurst Lane, Storrington