LETTER: We want the promised Localism

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I fully concur with Neil Whitear’s letter in last week’s WSCT, asking for an evidence (repeat evidence) based strategy for the proposed 500,000 sq ft of Business Park in Horsham.

However, I found little to agree with in the column on page 37, in which the leader still seems resigned at having to commit HDC to a 20 year housing target of 650 pa, to match population growth.

Developers will only build what they can sell at a profit and passive acceptance of that target, only causes unnecessary pressure for building on soft targets, such as North Horsham.

Unfortunately other councillors seem to share his view, despite the fact that many fewer houses were built on average, when GDP averaged three per cent pa and it should be clear that a 20 year average of 650-plus pa is not attainable in practice.

Councillors must surely confront the Planning Inspectorate’s (PI) unrealistic expectations at every opportunity, offering a second economically adjusted target.

If they don’t, then HDC will continue to remain behind the theoretical five year land supply for many years and will always be playing catch-up, leaving the PI with a perennial excuse to permit speculative development on greenfield and flood prone sites.

In forcing unrealistic (if not impossible) population based targets, the Coalition has opened the door to speculative development, against the judgement of local authorities and councillors need to confront that.

We want the Localism that we were promised please.


Arun Road, Billingshurst