LETTER: Strategic gap must not be breached

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Our neighbouring constituency MP Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs) and more than 20 others including MPs and world-renowned architect Richard Rogers in a joint letter to the The Daily Telegraph (July 13, 2013) highlighted that England’s ‘precious, inspirational and irreplaceable’ countryside is at risk from developers.

They are supporting the Campaign to Protect Rural England’s (CPRE) new charter to save our countryside.

We wholeheartedly agree and are pleased to hear such common sense.

The timing of Nick Herbert MP’s intervention and the major campaign launch by CPRE to save our countryside, on Monday of this week, could not have been timelier.

This same week the cabinet at Horsham District Council published its blueprint, for consultation with the public, for development in our district over the next 20 years.

These plans include the building of 2,500 homes (and likely to be 4,500), another supermarket, industrial units and a railway station, north of the A264 in an area that abuts an Area of Natural Beauty.

It was the express intention of councillors on the district council that the construction of the A264 between the Great Daux Roundabout and the Moorhead roundabout in the early 1990s marked a clear and impenetrable line to stop development in the strategic gap between Horsham and Crawley.

That holds good still today. The A264 bypass is a red line and must not be breached.

The strategic gap between Horsham and Crawley - now that the Kilnwood Vale development (and marketed by developer Crest Nicholson as ‘Crawley’s new neighbourhood’) has commenced is now just a little over two miles.

There must be no further erosion of our beautiful countryside in our green belt that preserves the identities of the towns of Horsham and Crawley.

We are sleepwalking into the joining of these two towns through an urban style sprawl along the A264 Crawley Road, akin to the style of development seen in the USA.

We urge all the residents in Horsham and the surrounding villages of Warnham, Slinfold and Rusper to read the cabinet’s consultation document with care.

We agree that there is a need for appropriate development for housing and places of work to keep our towns and villages alive; however there are far better sites than those have been proposed in the cabinet’s document including brownfield sites.

The debate will begin next week at a meeting of council on Thursday, 25 July and over the eight week consultation period there will be a genuine opportunity for residents to have a stake in where that development should go.

PETER BURGESS

(Con, Holbrook West) Horsham District Council

LAURENCE DEAKINS

(Con, Denne) Horsham District Council

LIZ KITCHEN

(Con, Rusper and Colgate) Horsham District Council

CHRISTIAN MITCHELL

(Con, Holbrook West) Horsham District Council

JOSH MURPHY

(Con, Horsham Park) Horsham District Council

SIMON TORN

(Con, Roffey South) Horsham District Council

PETER CATCHPOLE

(Con, Holbrook) West Sussex County Council

North Street, Horsham