Proposals for west of Southwater would create ‘dormitory development’ say campaigners

Southwater masterplan ENGSUS00120120521162303
Southwater masterplan ENGSUS00120120521162303

Hundreds of proposed new homes in Southwater would create a ‘dormitory’ development according to village campaigners.

Berkeley Homes have submitted an application for 580 homes and 54 retirement living apartments on land west of Worthing Road to Horsham District Council, but Keep Southwater Green (KSG) have demanded it is refused calling proposals ‘unsustainable and unsafe’.

In the group’s objection it raised concerns over infrastructure, road safety, the risk of anthrax contamination, emergency healthcare provision, and existing problems over fresh water and sewerage in Southwater.

In the objection Ian Thwaites, on behalf of KSG, said: “This is a `dormitory` development with no work creation in situ and no public transport planned within the development.

“There is no railway within the village and no easy access to either Christ’s Hospital Station or Horsham Station.

“We already know from the 2011 Census that 71 per cent of Southwater residents who are employed leave the village by car or van – this development will increase traffic load on the Worthing Road by at least a further 1,000 cars.

“It does not reflect the will of the people and can in no way be considered a collective enterprise’.

“It certainly cannot be said to conserve and enhance the natural environment – indeed it threatens the countryside which forms a natural barrier on the west side of the village as well as providing a highly valued and much used amenity for residents.

“It is an unsustainable development which is not well designed to make the best of the strategic site identified by Horsham District Council and is not in accord with the emerging Horsham District Planning Framework.”

The group’s submission argues that the layout of the scheme, in one long stream with just one main artery road, will lead to inconvenient and possibly dangerous congestion in both the new development and at the access to Worthing Road.

Other problems include the potential for ‘rat running’ down Bonfire Hill, and the insufficiency of a small slip road on to the A24 dual carriageway at Hop Oast.

Dr Thwaites added: “We appreciate the country’s need for houses, but for the above reasons this number is far too high to be sustainable given the existing road infrastructure.

“An answer can only sensibly be found if the number of houses is substantially reduced or very major highways work undertaken.”