LETTER: Generous offers to other councils

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Following up the letter by Valerie Wise ‘Generous offer to Brighton council’, I decided to go onto the HDC website and eventually found my way to the responses submitted – almost 3,000 when I looked.

I wondered whether Cllrs Dawe, Croft, Rae and Vickers had made any more generous offers to other councils to help them solve their housing numbers at Horsham’s expense.

Well, they have. There is a response from Crawley Borough Council (Elizabeth Brigden) Pro sub no 2865. Ms Brigden enthuses in 2,263 words – and so she might when we were all restricted to 200 words – at the generosity of HDC’s offer.

Her full submitted text is included on the HDC site not a summary by HDC officers in 200 words and she doesn’t limit herself to a policy - but a whole chapter.

Your readers looking at it may well ask what on earth is going on?

Here is a flavour: ‘Crawley Borough Council confirms that it considers the Horsham District Planning Framework to be both legally compliant and ‘sound’ in relation to meeting the Duty to Cooperate’.

(HDC has already allowed CBC to extend its boundaries at Kilnwood Vale onto HDC land – now HDC is offering to do more). ‘It is clear, therefore, that there will remain a significant gap, of about 3,075 dwellings over the Plan Period, between the shortfall in the objectively assessed housing need and the capacity of Crawley to meet this within its borough boundaries. ...Crawley Borough Council strongly urges Horsham District Council to continue to commit to the ongoing joint working with Crawley Borough and Mid Sussex District Councils in relation to the strategic issues across the housing market area. In particular, it is critical that the updated joint position statement offers the clear understanding of how the housing market area will accommodate Crawley’s own emerging needs in line with the requirement set out in paragraphs 47 and 182 of the NPPF and how this distribution will constitute sustainable development and meet the requirements of positive, economic growth… Crawley supports the inclusion of paragraph 6.6 within the Horsham District Planning Framework, as it expressly refers to meeting Crawley’s needs (‘as far as possible…’)’.

You bet Crawley supports para 6.6 – who did Cllrs Dawe, Croft, Rae and Vickers consult in Horsham District when they made this generous offer – especially since the evidence over the past few years shows HDC cannot even meet its own annual house building targets?

Adur and Worthing Council have been in receipt of the same offer from HDC (Pro sub 2886). They must all think Christmas is approaching. It seems that our ‘duty to co-operate’ consists of building thousands more homes than Horsham needs in order that councils far and wide can fulfil their ‘duty to co-operate’ by sending Horsham their huddled masses to house. Have we got it wrong somewhere?

GWEN TAYLOR

Havengate, Horsham