LETTER: Spread business around district

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I was pleased to see letters from Harry Shutt and C. Morris in the WSCT, seeking evidence (repeat evidence) to support the proposed 500,000 sq ft of business park in Horsham.

I understand that over 99 per cent of businesses in the district are SMEs, whilst Novartis is leaving and RSA downsizing. So why does all of the business space need to be in one block, adjacent to Horsham town?

Surely the objective should be to distribute SMEs around the district, such that commuting distances are minimised and youngsters who can’t afford to commute, can continue to live with relatives whilst they are training.

HDC has said that it needs business rate income but the companies won’t necessarily come to Horsham, with the wave of a magic wand. If they were keen to do so, then surely some of the redundant business space would have been taken up by now and it would be reducing (rather than increasing) in size.

Also, since the Government is going to change the rules relating to business rates, HDC may not receive the income expected.

It also seems that HDC has employed a consultant to justify the need for the employment space, but surely that should have been commissioned before the Local Plan was produced?

Where is the business plan from Liberty, with a strategy for attracting businesses over the coming years, when companies often do not plan much more than a year ahead?

Can we also assume that, if they can’t attract businesses, then they will be allowed to build houses instead and make a big (untaxed) profit on agricultural land, that was previously worth around £2,000 per acre?

As indicated by many readers in recent months, we need some transparency from HDC and hopefully this will come when their finalised plan appears in the public domain, or is that too much to hope for?

M. STEGGLES

Corsletts Avenue, Broadbridge Heath