Concerns have been raised about proposals to build around 2,500 new homes North of Horsham after a public consultation.
More than 900 people packed out an exhibition hosted by developer Liberty Property Trust in the Bishopric on Friday and Saturday where they were able to find out more information about proposals to develop the north of the town.
On many accounts they have failed and I am frankly underwhelmed.Laurie Price
Some residents at the exhibition seemed impressed with the plans, however, others raised concerns with many unhappy at the loss of the green space and the amount of traffic the new homes could create.
Laurie Price, Liberal Democrat candidate for Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead, attended the exhibition.
He said he had two major concerns with the proposals and was disappointed with Liberty for not responding to his letters on the issues.
Mr Price claimed if the second runway was approved at Gatwick the sound barrier would stretch to the North Horsham development which would affect some of the houses, schools and businesses planned to be built in the area and was angry there had been no mention of this in the developer’s plans.
He was also concerned about the possibility, outlined by the developer, of building a new train station at the site stating it would not be possible and would lead to more congestion on carriages.
At the exhibition Mr Price questioned Liberty about these issues and said although he understood development was needed he did not believe the developer had given the public all the facts.
He asked what proportion of homes were going to be affordable housing.
He said: “They didn’t seem sure when I asked them.
“Doing this at this time and then not having the answers to my questions is not acceptable. It is good that they are engaging with people but it is a little late.
“On many accounts they have failed and I am frankly underwhelmed.”
He believed there were plenty of office spaces across the district that could be converted into houses and these should be looked at more closely.
In response to the concerns a spokesperson for Liberty said: “North of Horsham is outside the 57dB noise contour for the proposed second runway. This is the level above which aircraft noise is generally considered to cause annoyance.
“We are working with the relevant authorities to try and deliver the station as soon as possible. We believe there is a good case for opening a new station with up to 600 parking spaces in this location and North of Horsham creates the opportunity for this to happen.
“The HDPF(Horsham District Planning Framework) policy points to 35 per cent of new homes being provided to meet local needs. The final amount will depend on many issues as this is just one of a number of community benefits that the project will be delivering, including the business park, the schools, local infrastructure improvements, and other community facilities. Horsham’s policy recognises that this is a complex area and it allows the housing mix to be debated through the ongoing planning process.”
As well as giving members of the public a chance to view the plans the exhibition also gave residents the chance to leave their feedback on what they would like to see take place in the development.
Although unpopular with many residents, the land North of Horsham, where the proposed development would take place, has been outlined as a place that could be developed in the Horsham District Planning Framework.
The plans put forward by Liberty outline the creation of around 2,500 homes at the site along with a new business park set to create around 4,000 jobs.
It has stated the build would be spread into three stages to be completed across a 15 year period.
The developer is also proposing to build three new schools, two primary and one secondary, along with three community facilities, doctors surgeries and a new sports centre, which it has encouraged residents to leave their feedback on to find out which sports are most important to the people of Horsham.
Liberty has also announced there may be a possibility a new railway station, known as Park Way station, could be created to help with access to and from the site.
A spokesperson for the developer said 40 per cent of the development would be kept as green and open space.
The plans outline the protection of an ancient woodland and retention and enhancement of some habitats for animals in the area.
Andrew Blevins, managing director of Liberty, said: “We were pleased so many local residents came to our exhibition to ask questions and share their views. We are committed to making North of Horsham a great place to live, work and play and we want the local community to help shape our plans.
“North of Horsham will provide around 2,500 homes to meet local needs supported by jobs, schools, green spaces and associated infrastructure and amenities.
“Feedback from the consultation will help us ensure we provide facilities wanted by local people, so North of Horsham becomes a valued addition to the town.
“We are committed to consulting the community every step of the way and I would encourage all Horsham residents to go online, fill out our feedback form and have their say.”
No planning application has been submitted to Horsham District Council for the build but Liberty has stated it hopes to submit an application by the summer.
To view the plans visit http://landnorthofhorsham.co.uk/ or to comment on the proposals contact firstname.lastname@example.org