LETTER: Their dream is our nightmare

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I refer to Liberty’s ‘Green vision’ for North Horsham (WSCT 26th Feb 2015) which would involve concreting over most of the 800 acres of the irreplaceable green fields.

Liberty’s latest public relations attempt / advertisement, being mail-dropped to 20,000 Horsham homes, is full of rhetoric and devoid of facts and commitments.

Liberty states their Kings Hill development ‘was recently recognised by the Daily Telegraph as one of the best places in the UK to raise a family’. If you look at the Telegraph article (www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/property/pictures/11072925/Britains-top-20-places-to-raise-a-family.html) there is no meaningful rationale for that conclusion and lots of estate agent’s hyperbole – no surprise; the article is a thinly veiled attempt to advertise houses for sale in 20 developments nationwide.

For an alternative opinion about Kings Hill who better to ask than the residents – for example, a King Hill Parish Council meeting last May recorded ‘concerns about the high density of phase 3 development, and lack of investment for essential services at Kings Hill’ (http://kingshilllife.com/category/kings-hill-news/).

What actually happened at the Liberty vaunted, publicly criticised, Kings Hill development? After more than 20 years Liberty’s masterplan for 3.8 million sq ft of business space and a village of 250 dwellings has been reduced to 800,000 sq ft of business space and expanded to a facility-deficient town of 3,385 dwellings.

Liberty’s latest publicised masterplan (their dream, our nightmare) for the strategic-gap green-field land north of Horsham includes a fantasy ‘parkway station’; a squiggle / artistic-licensed pedestrian and cycle bridge across the A264 to/from Bartholomew way; a hidden bus route along Pondtail Drive, leading onto a massive new roundabout on the A264; a conspicuous lack of traffic along the A264 versus HDC’s numerous consultant’s reports projecting increased traffic congestion, pollution and longer journey times; multiple sets of traffic lights on the Great Daux, new ‘Pondtail Drive’, Rusper and Moorhead roundabouts – not to mention other pedestrian/cycle crossings in-between.

Liberty invite comments from residents; which, like our Cllr Dawe controlled HDC, they will then ignore unless the comments fit in with their pre-ordained ‘masterplan’ – a plan which has not been fully disclosed and may well never be made public. The 500,000 sq ft of business space would be reduced to reflect the lack of demand (acknowledged by Gatwick Diamond and others); affordable housing would be reduced to a token (par for the course); the proposed 40 per cent of undeveloped land would be effectively eliminated to accommodate the 2,000 extra homes required by the Planning Inspector (yes, you read it here first – actually no; a figure of 4,500 houses was mooted years ago).

Liberty admits it is ‘a masterplan developer not a house builder’ but then incongruously claims that enables them to ‘build a community’ north of Horsham. Liberty might be able to build a ‘community’ of people living in the same place but that is not the same as a British style ‘community’ of people sharing and having attitudes and interests in common.

We can be sure that developers circling Horsham will continue to sit on existing granted planning-approvals for thousands of houses, and not build until they can maximise their profits; Liberty would maintain at least 20 to 30 per cent net profit and local rate payers will be saddled with £10s of millions of community infrastructure costs. This will become fact unless Cllrs Dawe, Vickers and their lackeys are ousted at the forthcoming elections.

We need councillors who will act impartially, irrespective of political affiliations, and solely in the best interests of the people of Horsham District as a whole.

C. MORRIS

Tennyson Close, Horsham