30 years ago


From the West Sussex County Times of Friday, February 8, 1985.

Plans for a massive 18 acre housing estate in Roffey are about to get a green light.

Laings have satisfied Horsham district council about three aspects of the scheme and will soon receive outline planning permission.

The 18 acre site was previously owned two thirds by the Mid-Downs Health Authority and West Sussex County Council. It falls between Roffey’s Crawley Road and Harwood Road.

The largest part of the land was the cricket pitch and sports facilities for the Forest Hospital while the rest was playing fields of the Leechpool Lane County Primary School.

The land was designated in the Horsham district plan, ratified by the Government in 1980, as housing land and news of the go-ahead should come as no surprise to residents in the area.

Access to the site had been a sticking point with Laings wanting to have two, through Howard Road and Leechpool Lane. Residents complained the Leechpool Lane access, shared with the primary school, would put children at risk.

As yet the council has had no details of the number or type of houses Laings plan for the area, said planning officer Phil Hodskinson. He expected a good mix with perhaps an emphasis towards cheaper homes for first time buyers.

Many Horsham teachers began working to rule on Wednesday in support of the National Union of Teachers’ 1985 pay claim.

But although some schools in Crawley, Shoreham and Burgess Hill, have sent pupils home as a result of the action, Horsham schools appear to have escaped relatively unscathed.

The crunch will come on Monday when there will be a meeting to discuss the employers’ “final offer” of four per cent. If no improvement is forthcoming, the union says it will consider “more extensive action and consequential disruption”.

The union wants at least £1,200 for every teacher as a first step towards restoring professional salary levels. It claims there is an extra 7.5 per cent available to do this.

Pay talks were last held in January. Four per cent was offered and the union told that further negotiation was pointless. Arbitration was offered but rejected by the union.

As a result of the apparent stalemate, the union has asked its members to take action in support of the pay claim on six fronts:

Refusal to cover for absences known in advance and other absences after the first day.

●Teachers to leave the premises and not supervise children during the lunch period.

No money to be handled in connection with school meals.

●No staff, departmental or year meetings to be attended outside school session.

No parents evenings to be attended outside school hours.

No sporting, musical, dramatic or like events to be attended during the lunch break.

A scheme to reimburse householders under Gatwick flightpaths, with a tax on air tickets, should be suspended, say airport watchdogs.

Plans were in the pipeline for putting 10p levy on air tickets and giving the proceeds to residents in Sussex and Surrey affected by aircraft traffic.

But the Gatwick Airport Consultative Committee has now decided that this is not fair on air passengers who are not to blame for pollution.

A recommendation to press for a levy on the tickets of departing passengers was suspended by the committee until more information on the issue is available.

Horsham district councillor for Rusper, Mrs Avocet Phelps, said that reimbursement for Gatwick area residents was long overdue.

“People who live under the flightpaths are stuck with the problem of the noise and pollution – and they can’t move because no-one will buy their houses.”

She said that it was up to the airports to make up for their discomfort.

“We must find some way of helping them. We know we won’t get help from the Government.”

Gatwick Airport director, Pat Bailey, agreed that the residents deserved help but said the scheme under consideration was not the right one to do it.

‘‘It will just create a lot of bureaucracy and will cost money,” he said.