Fears over the prospect of increased traffic and the necessity of a proposed railway station at the North Horsham development were raised at a Horsham District Council meeting yesterday (Wednesday April 23).
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Darryl Hemmings, planning policy manager at West Sussex County Council, explained that mitigation works will be required on some of the town’s roads if the development for 2,500 homes goes ahead.
He said: “Traffic should only be used as a reason to refuse development when the impact is severe.
“Without mitigation there is no doubt there will be some severe impacts.
“There are reasonable measures that can be applied to mitigate those impacts to a level that we are quite satisfied with.”
Mr Hemmings also explained why the proposal is more ‘sustainable’ for the urban area rather than a more rural area in the south of the district.
He said: “In rural parts of the district we see more people using cars and less people walking, cycling or using public transport.
“That is why focusing development around larger urban areas is a more sustainable approach - it is a more sustainable way of accommodating the development in terms of the transport network.”
Councillors were divided on the development, which is set to be approved or declined at a council meeting next Wednesday (April 30).
Andrew Baldwin (Con, Holbrook East) said: “I do have concerns about slapping 2,500 houses in North Horsham, I have concerns about the transport network and how it can cope.
“If you have 2,500 houses with two cars on average that is an extra 5,000 cars.
“You also have the prospect of a station being built and personally I am not in favour of it.”
John Chidlow (Con, Southwater) said: “We should be grasping this opportunity with both hands.
“We should be building more housing, particularly affordable housing.
“It is very tempting to dump it back into Southwater but Horsham is ten times the size of Southwater.”
Responding to a query raised by a member of the public, Roger Paterson (Con, Pulborough and Coldwaltham) admitted the proposed railway station is not an ‘essential’ part of the development.
He said: “As far as I am concerned, in terms of employment and we are talking about an employment business, no, it is not an essential requirement.”