LETTER: Riddle of when is a gap not a gap?

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Residents’ letters over the last two weeks have been full of frustration from supporters of Horsham Football Club (HFC) at the decision to reject their application for a new ground at Hop Oast, opposite the park and ride and petrol station.

Cllr Vickers and the other two Southwater councillors, Howard and Chidlow, are all members of Planning Committee North and led the drive to stop HFC’s plans dead in its tracks. The plan was supported by the planning officers after six years of careful work led by the chief executive Mr Crowley following a promise to the club in 2009 that HDC would find them a new home.

Cllr Vickers is quoted as having said ‘the Hop Oast site is no longer an option’ (29.1.15). It would be interesting to see whether these words are in the minutes of the Planning Committee. I wonder whether Cllr Vickers took advice before making that statement.

Cllr Vickers abolished the 30 year old local policies on Strategic Gaps allowing Liberty (US registered company) to build on 800 acres of land north of the A264. She replaced the stronger policy with a substantially weaker one of avoiding ‘coalescence’ between settlements. Her new policy is subjective rather than the former that was absolute in prohibiting all development.

But despite her deleting the policy on Strategic Gaps she now relies on its [non] existence as the reason not to build in the former Southwater-Horsham gap. It seems that Cllr Vickers is the only councillor who’s able to have it both ways. Which poses this riddle: when is a gap not a gap? When it suits Cllr Vickers and her electoral chances on May 7.


Parry Close, Horsham