LETTER: Ammunition for Judicial Review

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Inspector Mr Salter has written a ‘note’ to HDC and instructed them to increase their housing annual target from 750 to 800 to help Crawley meet its housing numbers.

This is the fourth time that the housing number has gone up since Cllr Vickers took over the planning portfolio in May 2013.

Cllr Ian Howard in October 2012, before he abruptly left his portfolio, was seeking 635 houses p.a. but Cllr Vickers dropped it to 575 p.a. just seven months later. Then in January 2014 she put it up to 615 and in January 2015 she put it up to 750.

Perhaps if Cllr Vickers had got the number right in the first place – and used Cllr Howard’s figure of 635 back in May 2013 - the process would not have been delayed and she’d have succeeded in obtaining a lower number than we are now being landed with. A complete Omnishambles.

The Inspector reports ‘During the preparation of my full report following consideration of representations on the MMs published in March [2015] and the oral evidence at the resumed hearing on 3 July, I have come to the view that the housing requirement for the plan period should be 800 dwellings per annum (dpa). This would result in a total of 16,000 dwellings between 2011 and 2031’.

The Inspector asks HDC how the council wishes to proceed to make its plan ‘sound’ and says he will set out his reasoning for the increase in his full report. Isn’t that the wrong way round? Logically he should explain his reasons and evidence for abandoning HDC’s original and now why 800 – before HDC consider what to do.

The Inspector goes on ‘From the updated Sustainability Appraisal, I consider that the District has the capacity to accommodate this level of development without unacceptable environmental effects’. He ‘considers’ – such arrogance when he refused to consider fully at either visits the largest environmental factor of all – traffic.

He goes on further ‘I therefore consider that no party’s interest would be seriously prejudiced if the number of 800 dpa were to be included in the HDPF without further advertisement for comment’. That is despite land for another 1,000 houses having to be found. Or is the plan to simply dump those in North Horsham?

So he is encouraging Cllrs Vickers and Ray Dawe – we can do this without going out for public consultation. In her press release Cllr Vickers says ‘We do not need to find or consult on these additional numbers now, but must start to review the plan within three years of adopting it, with a view to identifying extra numbers that may be required’.

This is yet more ammunition for the Judicial Review to strike down Cllr Vickers’ and Ray Dawe housing plan to concrete over the Strategic Gap with the help of Liberty.

EDUARDO DELGADO

Parry Close, Horsham

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