Southwater and Billingshurst - ignoring problem of today

IT IS regrettable that Horsham District Council will throw out the Interim Statement and that most of the letters in the County Times of July 28 seem to think it a great move. This is not because it was a great plan but because of yet more delays.

The major problem that remains unaddressed is that of land for development now. The Keep Southwater Green movement and letters from Billingshurst ignore the problem of today.

Stating that not having a plan means that building policy will fall back onto existing legislation is not the answer - therein lies the problem.

The fact that the Government has tried to throw out the SEERA plans has not percolated its way down the line. Most of the policy remains in place as law.

So more delays to a coherent plan for development just allows piecemeal development of the sort that blights Pulborough right now – none of the benefits and mostly the bad side.

Due to the inability of HDC to develop and bring forwards adequate timely land for development, builders have gone to appeal on two developments here. Both appeals were lost due to a lack of building land open to developers in HDC area due the aforementioned delays in the HDC systems.

The fact that under ‘normal’ circumstances they probably would have been turned down is due to these delays. To be fair the other factor which the inspector ignored was the impact of the economic downturn on the plans from HDC.

The result was a lack of site conditions normal to planned development on the builders and no control over the builders causing much inconvenience to local people.

There is a third application in the works in Pulborough and the fear is that even if HDC turns it down that it will go to appeal – guess who will probably win?

There was one appeal in Billingshurst too that I believe was granted by the same inspector that ‘did’ Pulborough.

There will be more of these coming through. Southwater, where the Fletcher Estate has had plans going back years, will probably get the houses come what may.

At least they stood a chance before of being built in a ‘structured’ way. Why else did Southwater get a new village centre, library etc?

That was the result of planned development over a number of years and for future development too.

Other places like Billingshurst will also suffer, even if the respective parish councils object as well as HDC to developers’ plans, until the fundamental issue is solved, the inspectors will probably let them through.


Codmore Hill Pulborough