LETTER: Plan certainty on housing numbers

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I write in response to the article ‘Housing decisions now would be meaningless’ in the West Sussex County Times, May 1, page three (Horsham edition).

Last Wednesday we moved a step closer to providing more employment opportunities and much needed affordable housing for local people when we approved the next stage of our 20-year strategy for homes and jobs.

The next step for the strategy - The Horsham District Planning Framework Proposed Submission – is a period of representation between 16 May and 27 June.

The council meeting on 30 April provided councillors with an opportunity to debate the strategy, and I was pleased that some 127 members of the public attended the meeting.

A proposal was made at the meeting to defer the decision until a decision on a second runway at Gatwick is made.

While on the surface this proposal seemed logical, it would in fact be extremely damaging.

Deferring would have the following consequences:

(1) We would be obliged to grant planning permission almost immediately to developers for a further 3,600 houses (based on the shortfall of house building against government requirements over the last five years).

(2) We would lose all Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) monies. This is money we would get from any developer in the future for new community infrastructure amounting to more than £1.7million for every year we delay.

(3) It would severely weaken the development of Neighbourhood Plans currently underway in Horsham Town and 14 of the district villages.

The Plan that was approved last week allows us to have control of development.

It gives us certainty of housing numbers for the foreseeable future, allows Neighbourhood Plans to go ahead and brings in money for new infrastructure.

CLAIRE VICKERS

(Con, Southwater) Cabinet Member for Living and Working Communities at Horsham District Council, North Street, Horsham