LETTER: Keep it all away from Southwater

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Cllr Vickers [Cabinet member for Planning], with her two council colleagues from Southwater, along with deputy leader Helena Croft, led the charge against Horsham Football Club’s [HFC] proposal to relocate to Hop Oast at the recent Planning Committee meeting.

Cllr Vickers doesn’t want any development remotely near her home patch since there’s an election in less than 100 days time. This means no more extra houses, no football club, in fact nothing that will upset her electorate - just keep it all away from Southwater so that she can keep her job at a cost to the Horsham District tax payer of £13,048 [2013/14 figures].

Cllr Vickers is against the Hop Oast development to prevent ‘urbanisation of the countryside’, yet as Simon King in his letter [‘Disappointment at football club ruling’ WSCT 29 January] points out, this same councillor was the driving force behind the proposals to wreck the countryside north of the A264 by building in the Strategic Gap separating Horsham and Crawley.

Perhaps if you are given a powerful position in an authoritarian run council surrounded by many councillors unwilling to challenge, you become so sure you are right that you can announce to the press [as reported WSCT January 29, page 22] ‘…the Hop Oast site is no longer an option for the football club’.

Maybe the developer [of both the HFC ground and the linked housing development on Holbrook Club land in Jackdaw Lane] will appeal to an Inspector. Such would give the HFC and the developer time to alter the plans and take note of the issues the HDC planning officers raised with some concern - the HFC £1.6 million tax issue with the HMRC offset against the poor 17.5 per cent affordable housing offered [compared with the HDC target of 35 per cent] on Jackdaw Lane, the general overcrowded feel of the housing plans, and the rather large club house facility proposed at Hop Oast, and finally certain transport issues.

To the outside observer, it seems rather naive that issues such as these were ever allowed to be offered as ammunition to Cllr Vickers and her cabal to turn the project down.

BRIAN JOHNSON

Langhurstwood Road, Horsham