In an article in the November 13 County Times (‘Character of town will be ‘changed forever’’) Horsham District Council’s former chief executive Martin Pearson is quoted as saying that the £25m redevelopment of Southwater village centre was ‘in anticipation of it taking further housing’.
This may be how Mr Pearson saw it, but at the time it was presented as compensation for the large scale development that had already happened in Southwater over decades, rather than paving the way for further development.
As the local members for Southwater at the time, we were never informed of Mr Pearson’s plans for further development. Indeed, he was well aware that, when the last round of development in Southwater was being planned, it was done on the basis that this would be the last major housing development in the village, which had taken more that its fair share of the district’s housing allocations for many years.
While we sympathise with the plight of the people of North Horsham, the solution is not to dump the problem on Southwater - as happened so many times before.
As planning inspectors have noted in the past, Southwater is not suitable for further development, being an expanded village and not an urban centre. We have no rail station and insufficient public transport to cater for the existing population, let alone more.
Hands off Southwater!
PETER and JULIE STAINTON
Former Horsham district councillors for Southwater, Station Road, Southwater