Council cabinet member doesn’t want to build ‘single additional house than we absolutely need to’

Horsham District Councillor Claire Vickers - picture submitted by HDC
Horsham District Councillor Claire Vickers - picture submitted by HDC

The council’s cabinet member in charge of housing has said she ‘doesn’t want to see a single additional house built than we absolutely need to’.

Speaking during a live Facebook chat last Thursday Claire Vickers, Horsham District Council’s cabinet member for living and working communities, told residents building on brownfield land would continue to be a priority.

HDC is currently consulting on its draft housing framework, which sets out proposals for 2,500 homes North of Horsham, and 500 homes each in Billingshurst and Southwater.

During the chat Brett Adshead said: “Planning inspector’s ‘presumption in favour’ is based on long out of date population growth and economic climate predictions. These houses are not needed and will not be affordable by local people.”

Mrs Vickers answered: “Brett, you may want to look at the evidence on our web site in the HDPF supporting evidence web page.

“A lot of work has been done on assessing local needs. I don’t want to see a single additional house built than we absolutely need to.”

On a new parkway railway station in the North of Horsham development, she said they were in discussions with Network Rail and the train operators, with developers funding any new station.

However some expressed fears that Littlehaven Railway Station would be affected, with reduced services from the station.

She said she understood Network Rail were investing in Littlehaven and said: “If people continue to use it its future is secure.”

Brian Smith asked: “How would the council respond to the accusation that it’s simply easier and less work for them to allow developers to build on one large greenfield site than to deal with the extra hassle of allowing numerous developers to build on brownfield sites within the Horsham boundaries?”

Mrs Vickers responded: “Over the last ten years over 80 per cent of development has taken place across Horsham district on previously developed land. The development of brown field land continues to be our priority.

Under proposals a new secondary school would be provided and Deborah Hammond questioned whether this would affect current catchment areas in and around Horsham.

Mrs Vickers said: “There is no indication from the education authority that the catchment areas would change. The current community will still be able to go to Millais and Forest schools as they do at the moment and any new school would be for the new development as and when it is required.”

A North Horsham Parish Council meeting will be held on Monday September 9 at North Heath Hall in St Mark’s Lane at 7.30pm to discuss the proposals. The hall has a maximum capacity of 240.

For full coverage of this meeting see our website and Thursday’s County Times.