Again we see the HDC leader (page 37 in the last edition of the WSCT) wringing his hands over the Planning Inspector’s insistence that HDC produces a plan based on population growth and that HDC has little option but to plan for 600-plus houses per annum over 20 years, including over 2,500 houses north of Horsham.
Indeed, it seems that around 1,200 houses pa would need to be built in Horsham District over the next five years, to eliminate the current backlog and to sustain the projected 20 year average, to satisfy the Planning Inspectorate (PI).
That compares with an average building rate of not much more than 400 houses pa over the past ten years, which is clearly pie in the sky. So why doesn’t HDC highlight that the target is totally unrealistic?
This is not about failing to have an adopted Local Plan, but more about confronting the Inspectorate’s unrealistic expectations.
The point could be made clearly by including one target based on population growth (using SE Plan methodology) with a second projection, duly adjusted for economic growth and disposable incomes.
Councillors must surely give strong leadership and not passively allow the unelected PI to ride roughshod over them. They must surely fight back with tenacity and not just roll over by accepting unrealistic targets, against which they are certain to fail.
So come on leader, please show some backbone and some imagination.
Arun Road, Billingshurst