An outline planning application for ‘up to 2,750 dwellings’ and a ‘business park’ (DC/16/1677) North of Horsham is now out for public consultation.
District councillors who spoke and voted for the vast urban extension on countryside North of Horsham argued that that this contentious country-side consuming development would provide affordable homes for Horsham’s young people who would otherwise have to reside outside of Horsham District.
It should therefore be of considerable concern to our elected representatives that the proportion of affordable homes offered by the applicant is 30 per cent (therefore 825), not the 35 per cent (therefore 962)stipulated by the council’s adopted HDPF (Policy 16) for sites providing 15 or more dwellings; a shortfall therefore of 137 affordable homes.
Furthermore, according to the applicant’s ‘Statement of Housing for Local Needs’, submitted in support of the application, the delivery of 137 of the 825 affordable homes is conditional on “the delivery of new office and business space on the North Horsham Business Park”.
Moreover, the applicant seeks to justify the less than 35 per cent affordable homes on the spurious grounds that the 35 per cent required by the HDPF is a ‘proposal’ when in reality the 35 per cent is a requirement stipulated in an adopted local plan, not a ‘proposal’.
District councillors will recall that Mr Salter, the Planning Inspector who examined the HDPF, approved the inclusion of North of Horsham as a strategic site with the understanding that it would deliver 35 per cent affordable housing, not 30 per cent.
It remains to be seen whether councillors will insist that the HDPF requirement for 35 per cent affordable homes be met. If not, a vast tract of countryside will be concreted over for the financial benefit of investors without meeting the district’s need for affordable homes.
Dr R F Smith
For CPRE Sussex (Horsham District), Bashurst Copse, Itchingfield
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