Outrage over plans for M23 business park

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Objectors to proposals to build a massive business park north of the M23 near Gatwick say they are outraged at the way the plans are being dealt with.

Joanna Barnett, a member of the Keep Horley Green campaign group, fears that many people are still unaware of the proposals and that objections already put forward by opponents are being overlooked.

Reigate and Banstead Council is currently working with landowners on a 10-year plan to create a 172-acre business park on both sides of the Balcombe Road, between Gatwick and Horley.

Councillors say it is at an early stage but that, if it goes ahead, it could create thousands of new jobs and attract significant investment to the area.

But opponents fear that if given the go-ahead, the proposals would mean the loss of countryside and wildlife habitats between Horley and the airport in an area prone to flooding.

Keep Horley Green campaigner Joanna Barnett has written letters of objection to 21 local councillors, but said this week that she had so far received replies from just six - and these, she said, were ‘inadequate.’

She maintains that the proposed business park would mean the loss of public open land and that two large equestrian and sporting facilities would have to close.

She also fears that roads, schools and hospitals would be inadequate for a development of the size proposed.

She said the way councillors were treating the matter was ‘outrageous’. “They are supposed to be acting on our behalf. It is quite alarming.”

Keep Horley Green has already set up a protest petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/keep-horley-green

Meanwhile, Reigate and Banstead Council planners say that no outline planning application for the proposals has yet been put forward. John Reed, head of property at the council, said: “We understand that residents are keen to know more about the proposed office park, but at this embryonic stage, the evaluation of any site, or part of it, is subject to numerous detailed surveys, surveys which have not yet taken place.

“As we have already stated, the design process will involve consultation with both the public and other key stakeholders and at that point in time all parties will be given an opportunity to comment upon the proposals before them.

“Given the lengthy and detailed design tasks required prior to that point, any consultation is likely to be in mid 2016 and of course prior to any planning application.”

He said technical and policy issues would be considered once any application was received.