LETTER: Is anything fair with planning?

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It has recently been stated in the local media that it is ‘a bit unfair’ that parishes without Neighbourhood Plans will only be entitled to a 15 per cent financial share of development known as CIL or Community Infrastructure Levy (capped at £100 per existing household), versus a 25 per cent uncapped share for those parishes who have adopted plans.

Given the statement that this is ‘a bit unfair’, I have to ask, is anything fair concerning planning and development these days?

Of course the ‘unfair bit’ concerning CIL is not new to parishes, all parishes have known since April 2013 when the Department for Communities and Local Government made its announcement, the announcement of course was aimed at ‘focusing parish attention upon development’ – or as most of us would call it... outright blackmail.

We all know that in the next few months developers will be filing their planning applications for North Horsham, which was on the cards even before a vote was taken on the Preferred Strategy; all members knew that – even if their tactics for dealing with the inevitable varied.

The North Horsham site has been a named Strategic Site since at least 2009 when just 23 households objected to it in the 2009 Consultation, yes just 23… that opened the door to developers and from then there has been no closing it.

We all have had to and will have to deal with the unfair reality of our current situation, I suggest now is the time for all of us to come together; we all need to work for each other in North Horsham, we are the ones who will have to live with that development – so let us get the most out of it that we can!

Yes, this is an open letter to the affected parishes and the residents that you represent.

If you have not started on your Neighbourhood Plans then now is a good time, all parishes were given the same offer of help from HDC; that offer stands.

The last questions are of course, are we going to continue to bemoan our fate, continue to say ‘it’s a bit unfair’ – or are we going to go after the cash and community benefits that we are due?

JIM RAE

(Con) Horsham district councillor for Holbrook East ward and county councillor for Roffey Division, North Street, Horsham