LETTER: Inconvenient planning truths

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Francis Maude MP didn’t attend the Horsham District Council meeting on April 30 to listen to the debate as to why Cllr Claire Vickers’ plan was a good idea – potentially destroying our ‘green belt’ between Horsham and Crawley with more than 2,500 homes and an industrial park with another large supermarket.

An onlooker might ask whether somebody local advises Francis Maude MP on his regular half page articles in this paper? If so, that person does Mr Maude a great disservice with less than 12 months to the next general election.

I listened to the council meeting and it was far from ‘exhaustive’ as he claims. It was in fact quite the opposite with a great many Conservative councillors from the south of the district who had clearly made their minds up already advancing hopeless arguments in support of North Horsham being built upon.

Their enthusiasm for leader Cllr Ray Dawe and Cabinet member for Planning Cllr Claire Vickers’ plan (ignoring the evidence they had paid consultants to collect) was so patently pre-determined by their desperation to survive in the wards they represent.

In Billingshurst, there are to be no additional houses at all in this plan instead of 1,500 proposed by HDC in September 2012. Cllr Gordon Lindsay (Billingshurst) decided that if you had to build a business park: ‘you’d build a business park in North Horsham and not in Southwater!’

I wonder how much time he had spent looking through the more than 700 pages to come to that conclusion? In fact neither Southwater nor North Horsham needs a business park when business wants to be in Croydon or Crawley where both towns have better rail links to London and road links to the M25.

You only have to look at the empty offices in Horsham (including the Novartis site which was hardly mentioned in the debate) and the ones being converted into flats on North Street to see that.

These are inconvenient truths that the councillors from the ‘Deep South’ don’t want to accept.


Heath Way, Horsham