EXCLUSIVE: 4500 houses shock plan

Proposed 20acre site for new hospital from north looking south, Langhurstwood Road  -photo by steve cobb

Proposed 20acre site for new hospital from north looking south, Langhurstwood Road -photo by steve cobb

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UP TO 4,500 homes could be built in north Horsham, increasing the town’s population by a quarter, and paving the way for a new hospital and business park for the district.

In today’s County Times full details are revealed of plans that include a new railway station, supermarket, leisure facilities and even a secondary school.

In an exclusive interview with the County Times this week, Adam Walker of Crickmay Chartered Surveyors declared the massive mixed use development was ‘the solution to what Horsham District Council wants to see’.

Acting for 12 major land owners, and in partnership with a multi-billion pound American-owned development company, Crickmay submitted ‘evidence-based proposals’ to HDC just before Christmas, responding to the recommendations outlined in the local authority’s Core Strategy Review, published in 2009.

“We have embraced everything which was said in this document,” said Mr Walker, who has been working for more than two years on what he argues is a ‘once in lifetime opportunity’ for the district.

The proposals would see wide-scale development of the green fields directly to the north of Horsham, over the A264, between Langhurstwood Road in the west, to Wimland Road, off the Crawley road in the east. With a potential population of 10,000, and creating up to 4,000 jobs, the north Horsham development would increase the town’s population by 25 per cent.

It could also have a knock-on effect in Horsham town centre, as plans for a new acute hospital could signal the end of the current Horsham Hospital – opening the door to substantial redevelopment of the Hurst Road area.

Horsham District Council and MP Francis Maude have been championing a new hospital with A&E facilities for the town for many years – but these took on a new impetus under the council’s previous leader Robert Nye, who resigned suddenly just before Christmas after his Kingsfold-based business ran into financial difficulties. However, it has long been accepted that for such a hospital to be built it would need to be a private one that provided free treatment at the point of use under NHS referral.

Pease Pottage has always been indicated as a possible location – but these new plans propose a 20-acre site near Warnham railway station, to the west of Langhurstwood Road, much closer to Horsham. However, Mr Walker admitted they have simply ‘embraced the concept of a hospital’, and said the site ‘can accommodate a hospital’.

He said: “There is no more we can do – ultimately the Government has to support it.”

The County Times asked Horsham MP Francis Maude for comment last Wednesday December 28, but by the time the paper went to press yesterday he had made no comment.

The County Times itself has campaigned for such a hospital as well as new business facilities to ensure the district continues to deliver high quality jobs. But development on this scale, if granted planning permission, will also prove enormously controversial.

Exclusive interview with Adam Walker of Crickmay Chartered Surveyors, plus three pages of additional comment and analysis and map in this week’s County Times.