LETTER: Site was rejected in 2009 review

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Cllr Jim Rae (Holbrook East and Roffey) is putting out on social media that the proposed North Horsham development isn’t the fault of him and the Gang but rather those who were on the council before him.

Cllr Rae ignores:

(1) councillors who were in office before his election in 2011 rejected the North Horsham site through the Core Strategy Review 2009. This is a fact, which Cllr Rae regularly and conveniently forgets. It was Cllr Vickers in May 2013 who, once she moved PPAG into private session, moved 2,000 houses and the secondary school planned for Southwater into the Strategic Gap.

(2) Cllr Rae voted for North Horsham and supported it by writing an article in this newspaper on 4 July 2013 and 30 October 2014 (Horsham ed., p38) extolling the need for a 500,000 sq ft industrial and warehouse park in the Strategic Gap. The fact is that there’s no proven need for these industries and the Inspector questioned this in his report as to whether these jobs would be created (December 2014). And more to the point since Jim Rae called for this industrial park in July 2013 some 19 months later still not one company has declared a wish to move to it.

(3) Cllr Rae said that the plan was the best on offer which is why he supported and yet the Inspector has found the whole plan ‘unsound’ and thrown it back at the council. The plan won’t be voted for until after May 2015 so a new council can remove the North Horsham site and stop ‘Crawsham’ from being a reality.

(4) Former chief executive Martin Pearson gave evidence at that public inquiry in November 2014 and said that Cllr Vickers’ plan was ‘political’ and all the planning advice during his time as chief executive from 1983 to 1995 had been not to breach the A264 into the Strategic Gap but rather to build in Southwater and Billingshurst.

(5) Cllr Rae when he was seeking election to the Roffey ward of West Sussex County Council in May 2013 wrote ‘Jim is not convinced that North Horsham is the correct site upon which to build 4,000 houses, he believes the demands for housing in the north of the district are already very high and that our infrastructure will not support such numbers’.

And so much for Cllr Jim Rae intending to make Liberty ‘bleed’ - his personal promise which he posted on his Facebook page after the controversial vote in April 2014.

The money for the community from North Horsham is now £0, which was to have been £50 per sq metre. And £50 per sq m is a lot better than £0 even though other developers at other sites were to have been charged £125.

DAVID SHIPTON

Downsview Road, Horsham