LETTER: Reasonable level of development

We comment on the letter from Claire Vickers (May 9).

A government inspector will tend to enforce central government policy. It is up to HDC to promote Localism.

The April 2010 G L Hearn Study Key Findings para 9.2 admits that whether zero net migration would constrain the economy is a moot point acknowledging there are more working people living in Horsham District than are working in it (10,600 net out- commuters – see Hearn 2011 Study Fig 4.4).

This pattern is likely to be made worse by further in-migration, ie most of the proposed houses would be occupied by incomers who do not work here (it would be most logical therefore that any additional housing is planned with good access to the main employment centres outside Horsham District).

Expert studies, statistics and projections must be considered with common sense.

Actual GDP growth in 2012 was 0.2 per cent. The OBR forecast for 2013 is 0.6 per cent.

We have an annual deficit exceeding £ 100bn and rising. Three per cent economic growth is pie in the sky for the foreseeable future.

G.L. Hearn acknowledges there is likely to be latent capacity in the local economy (para. 2.28 of the 2011 Study).

Therefore plan for less new housing in the first half of the plan period than in the second half (the LDF is in any event subject to review).

This would allow time to plan and provide any necessary infrastructure and sevices. We should also ensure that sites already identified are developed before any more land is identified.

We reiterate our view that an average of 400 houses per annum over the 20 year period is a maximum HDC should be planning.

The GL Hearn 2011 Study Conclusions at para 6.21 make it clear that apart from economic considerations there are a range of other factors which have to be considered in deciding the level of housing, eg sustainability; spatial implications; infrastructure and the views of local communities.

Any responsible political party must not allow greenfield development to prejudice our Sussex countryside and environment.

The possibility of some resultant economic growth must not be at unacceptable environmental cost.

Incidentally we gather from your sister paper the Mid Sussex Times issue May 17 that the Draft Mid Sussex District Plan provides for 10,600 houses over the next 20 years, ie 38 per cent reduction from the 17,100 defunct SE Plan target and that this meets local needs and allows for economic growth.

Apply this reduction to the defunct SE Plan housing target for Horsham District which was 13,000 over 20 years and the figure becomes 8,060 for Horsham District which co-incidentally is almost the same more reasonable and sustainable number we have been suggesting.

Mr and Mrs PULLING

Kithurst Lane, Storrington