Fears of ‘Crawsham’

FEARS of ‘Crawsham’, ‘troubled hot-spots’ and a lack of local jobs are just some concerns voiced by parish councillors following a shock bid for 4,500 new homes in North Horsham.

Now pressure is mounting on Horsham District Council (HDC) to produce ‘clarification’ on the massive potential development, which paves the way for a new hospital and business park.

At the beginning of this year, the County Times revealed the potential plans to increase the Horsham’s population by 25 per cent.

A new railway station, supermarket, leisure facilities and even a secondary school are also planned for an 800 acre site north of the A264.

In an exclusive interview published on January 5, Adam Walker of Crickmay Chartered Surveyors declared the massive mixed use development was ‘the solution to what Horsham District Council wants to see’.

Acting for 12 major land owners, and in partnership with a multi-billion pound American-owned development company, Crickmay submitted ‘evidence-based proposals’ to HDC just before Christmas, responding to the recommendations outlined in the local authority’s Core Strategy Review, published in 2009.

But the plans have been met with much trepidation and confusion by North Horsham parish councillors.

At a meeting on Thursday January 19 chairman Ray Turner declared: “We need to know more. I’m a little bit disappointed that we haven’t been contacted or approached by the district council since the news has broken.”

“I thank the County Times for releasing this, otherwise we would be a little in the dark.”

Councillor David Searle said: “I would like to see the justification for them to build so many houses. There’s lots of businesses that are empty in Horsham so where are these new residents going to work? We would have to ensure that there are enough youth facilities, or it could be another troubled hot-spot.”

Councillor Mike Brakes warned: “There is not smoke without fire. Either it’s a proposal by a private land owner trying to test the water or it’s come through the government’s proposals for housing where there’s a push for housing across the country. But either way it’s our duty to seek clarification on what is going on.

“There’s no context to it. If there is such a proposal we as the parish council should encourage this to be put in the public domain for a public debate.”

But the chairman closed the debate by saying: “We’ve always understood that one of the aims of the district council was to try and preserve the gap, and not to create Crawsham. But this all comes back to us not knowing what’s going on. I think there’s a major air of concern around this table and concern we need clarification, and then we can take it a bit further. We need to know more.”

Letters, page 10

Protest planned, page 19