Homes near Billingshurst doctors’ surgery approved

Billingshurst Surgery, Roman Way, Billingshurst, West Sussex. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150428-165629001
Billingshurst Surgery, Roman Way, Billingshurst, West Sussex. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150428-165629001

Plans for 45 homes in Billingshurst were approved by the council despite concerns over the added flooding risk.

Devine Homes’ outline application for the units on land south of the village doctors’ surgery in Roman Way was accepted by Horsham District Council’s Development Control South Committee.

Officers explained that the scheme, on land previously used for allotments, was acceptable within the built up area of the village.

But Sue Kingston, from Billingshurst Parish Council, described the site as one of the ‘final few green lungs within the heart of the village’.

She felt that the parish council should be allowed to ‘get on with the job of preparing a neighbourhood plan’ and the application was premature. She added: “Give this community the chance to shape its own future.”

Meanwhile Lesley Wilding, of Billingshurst Flood Action Group, explained that the 475 homes planned to the east would drain into the same ditches, and even HDC had recognised the area was a hot spot for flooding.

Kate Rowbottom and Nigel Jupp (Con, Billingshurst and Shipley) echoed flooding concerns, while Gordon Lindsay added: “Billingshurst is completely unsuitable for extra development because we do not have the road system to cope with it.”

However he said HDC was ‘screwed’ if West Sussex County Council’s highways department did not object, and asked for a guarantee that flooding would not be exacerbated. Mrs Rowbottom suggested this be a ‘water-tight guarantee’.

But the agent for the scheme said that Billingshurst ‘has a continuing role to play in the delivery of housing in the district’.

Brian O’Connell (Con, Henfield), chairman of the committee, explained that they would await details on how the developer would mitigate the risk of flooding on the site when the reserved matters application was submitted.

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