What a fascinating report on the Horsham District Council meeting to consider the North Horsham development proposals.
That the chairman of the council failed to allow legitimate questions to be answered at the meeting to consider the ill-conceived and badly thought through proposals from Liberty Property Trust and supported mainly by HDC councillors from rural wards, does not surprise me given his record. His call to command respect from objectors to his office is risible.
Respect has to be earned through setting an example and leadership, not by shouting and dogma in support of development proposals that fail on virtually every count.
But given his administration’s record on development we should not be disappointed. Yes Horsham needs more houses, but not in that location or of that specification. It needs more affordable homes particularly in the urban area; options for which his council has ignored.
We do not need another out of town failed business park, given the amount of unoccupied office space in central Horsham. A problem compounded by the uncertainty over the future of Royal Sun Alliance and the historic gross over-estimate by HDC of the employment contribution that RSA would generate.
Nor is there the capacity on peak trains or train path capacity on the London Brighton line to support a new station. Whilst the ever more likely Gatwick second runway would put the North Horsham residential development under the resulting flight path and in or close to the 57 LeQ noise contour in which residential development is not permitted.
The chairman and his cabinet coterie need a serious rethink on how to meet the housing and associated needs of the district.
But given their historic lack of vision, I fear we may have to wait some time. Heaven forbid that a revised plan might be enlightened enough to include the mixed development on the site of Shoreham Cement Works, but that’s probably a bit close to home for some NIMBY members of the council.