The article in the County Times regarding the three preferred sites for house-building as chosen by Horsham District Council is no surprise to us, as we have highlighted these sites on our website (www.stopthehousebuilding.co.uk) and argued against them for nearly a year now.
But it still comes with a measure of disbelief that HDC is still wanting to proceed with them as all three sites have many reasons why they should not be chosen for development and we also have issues with the numbers of annual house builds that HDC wanted us to choose from, which were all set way too high.
If we start by looking at the North of Horsham development, which we believe is to be financed by a large American company, this is not only to be built on 100 per cent green field sites with the loss of good agricultural land and countryside, but it is also far too large for this semi-rural area, and what is more sets a bad precedent as it expands Horsham over the A264, with the likelihood of future expansion possible.
With large developments being built to the West of Crawley and at Faygate (again out of context for the size of the village) on Horsham Parish land, the threat to the Horsham- Crawley Strategic Gap is a real issue, and if the North of Horsham development were to go ahead it makes the likelihood of Crawlsham becoming ever more likely.
What is clear is that the majority of all the new housing will not be for the local community, which would at least have made it more understandable if it had been, but it appears that HDC is trying to help solve a national problem in this semi-rural area and it plainly does not work.
This development would increase the size of Horsham by a quarter and would follow on from the Broadbridge Heath development that went ahead without the support of most local people.
The two other sites in Southwater and Billingshurst are both massive developments in areas that have already seen continual developments that are ruining the shape of these small towns, they are also almost totally on greenfield sites and on good agricultural land and countryside.
We also feel that the annual number of house builds that HDC is looking for was set far too high and unrealistic, when you realise that the average amount of house builds for the last five years has been in the region of 250, the 570 that HDC is likely to choose seems incredibly high.
We think between 275 and 300 would be the correct amount providing enough brownfield sites can be found, and these should be in small developments that are for the benefit of the local community and sustainable.
The large developments as favoured by HDC are not sustainable and not in the best interests of the local communities nor are they suitable for this semi rural area.
The county council elections will soon be upon us – maybe HDC will have a change of heart before then?
Stop The House Building, Highlands Road, Horsham