It was good to see several LibDem councillors openly expressing concerns over Horsham District Council’s Local Plan in the County Times, although it was notable that their leader councillor Holmes, is still not in their vanguard.
Indeed, councillor Holmes was quoted, in October, as saying there is no escaping the fact that the HDC Local Plan must include a 20 year target of around 600 dwellings per annum, based on population growth, this to include around 2,500 houses north of Horsham.
Unfortunately, others seem to share his view despite the fact only 450 houses per annum were built, on average, between 2000/01 and 2007/07 when our GDP averaged three per cent per annum. It should be clear that a 20 year average of 600 dwellings per annum is not attainable even should our GDP return to pre-austerity years.
So, as the elected representatives of the people, our district councillors must confront the Regional Planning Inspectorate’s unrealistic expectations at every opportunity, starting with a second projection in the Local Plan, duly adjusted with realistic building plans and for realistic economic growth.
If they do not do that we will continue to remain behind the, theoretical, five year land supply and we will always be playing catch-up, leaving the Planning Inspectorate with a perennial excuse to permit speculative development on greenfield sites.
So, I ask our district councillors to stop blaming the LibCon Coalition, which has reneged on all their promises to bring true Localism to the electors, accept the current fact of a Regional Planning Inspectorate and contest the root of this particular problem, the unrealistic housing targets before we are buried under concrete and brick.
We can all address the broken Conservative promises, around true Localism among others, at the next election.