‘Safe haven for crime’ comments on new rented homes scheme criticised

Peter Burgess Horsham District Council Holbrook West SUS-150409-140211001

Peter Burgess Horsham District Council Holbrook West SUS-150409-140211001

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Comments suggesting a scheme for 227 private rented homes between Horsham and Crawley will be a ‘safe haven for crime’ have been criticised.

Crest Nicholson’s proposals for the units within the 2,500-home Kilnwood Vale development west of Bewbush were approved by Horsham District Council’s development control north committee last Tuesday.

The application is part of the second phase of the major housing scheme and would consist of a mix of apartments, maisonettes, and terraced houses, along with communal open spaces, a clubhouse, and a ball court.

But Peter Burgess (Con, Holbrook West) criticised summaries of some comments from residents being included in the officers’ report, which was presented to the committee.

A total of 33 objections were received by HDC and one suggested the scheme would have a large number of ‘low income households and the problems they could bring to the estate’.

Another said that ‘the high density and scale of the buildings will become a safe haven for crime and anti-social behaviour’.

A third thought the proposal would ‘create its own “ghetto” with its own facilities’.

Mr Burgess said: “The fact that someone has written in and said this does not mean we have to include it.”

Sarah Beuden, agent for the scheme, explained it was the first scheme of its kind in the district and the wider region.

The development, including the homes and communal facilities, would be managed by a single landlord and filled a gap for those not able to buy their own property and who do not qualify for affordable housing.

Liz Kitchen (Con, Colgate and Rusper), chairman of the committee, said: “When I first heard about it I thought it was a rather exciting new concept.”

Officers explained that no affordable rented properties would be lost within the entire Kilnwood Vale development, but 24 shared ownership units would be lost. A clawback mechanism would allow HDC to recoup some of this if any of the 227 units were sold off in the future.

Claire Vickers (Con, Southwater), HDC’s cabinet member for planning and development, added: “We need these rented homes and I think that’s a really significant now we are going to get and I’m proud they will be rented in perpetuity.”

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