I was delighted to read in your paper that the North Horsham Parish Council [NHPC] has instructed a barrister to fight Horsham District Council’s [HDC] flawed housing plan and dump everything including the ‘kitchen sink’ in the Strategic Gap, and across green and open farm land [WSCT June 12 p1).
By ‘everything’ in our 800 acres of Strategic Gap I mean: more than 2500 houses, another large supermarket, a secondary school, a crematoria that the southern Tory councillors rejected from being built at West Grinstead, and a three storey 500,000 sq ft industrial/warehouse park, BUT OF COURSE NO HOSPITAL.
It goes without saying that with a good command on their papers the barrister will be able to skilfully argue, on behalf of the residents, why Cllr Vickers’s housing plan and the process is flawed and unsound.
The public enquiry, scheduled to be held in November this year, is the democratic cornerstone of our constitution - a tribunal before a government Inspector testing HDC’s evidence to see whether it is sound or not.
The residents know that it is not, and self evidently the Inspector will want to know the names of the companies that according to Cllrs Vickers, Rae and Croft are queuing up to come to this industrial/warehouse park. The Inspector will also want to know why a much needed secondary school for Southwater [the largest urban area in West Sussex without its own] has been placed seven miles north of the village at the Rusper Road roundabout. This is despite land having been reserved for the school in Southwater for some 20 years.
Isn’t it a pity that the NHPC have had to resort to arguing the law before the Inspector at a tribunal? If a number of our north Horsham elected HDC councillors had done the right thing, rather that than working with the southern ‘Tory dictates’ to allow housing to be dumped in north Horsham, then we wouldn’t be where we are today.
I wonder if the gang of four of Cllrs Dawe, Vickers, Croft and Rae ably aided by their cohorts Cllrs Baldwin, Cornell, O’Connell and Circus will ask to speak to the Inspector to explain individually why they believe that the HDC’s plan is ‘sound’ in planning law. I doubt it somehow!
Our elected north Horsham HDC councillors Andrew Baldwin, Jim Rae, Helena Croft, Roy Cornell resoundingly failed us, but the ultimate bulwark in such circumstances is the power of the law exercised through the courts and tribunals.
We now must place our faith in the Inspector and in showing him why HDC’s plan is “unsound”. Then in May 2015 our time will come when we will have the opportunity to dump, once and for all, the councillors that so badly have let us down.
Langhurstwood Road, Horsham