Nik Butler: Problems of planning for 15 years in the future

JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001
JPCT 120314 S14110969x Nik Butler -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-141203-095917001

Fifteen years ago you could not have planned for living today.

Mobile phones were hardly ubiquitous, Twitter was barely a glint in the eye of an entrepreneur.

Back then no one appreciated just how much they would dislike having to experience Windows 8. The point about these observations is that 15 years ago no one could have anticipated how our communities would change.

Why then would anyone open a consultation document with the suggestion that looking ahead 15 years plus can allow them to plan properly? Then again the same leaflet goes on to suggest that their top priority will be to make North Horsham the best place it can be. As if anyone was going to promise to make it the worst that it could be. Granted the artwork is very pretty, if lacking in a little notification alongside the map to suggest ‘not to scale.’ The photographs of housing and streets do seem a little narrow though; but then as I said it is probably not to scale.

Like many residents the arrival of the flyer promoting The North of Horsham by Liberty Property Trust has left me in a state of awe. The chutzpah of the publication; leaving aside no mention of the Parish Council of North Horsham which evidently until now has apparently had no bearing on housing, employment, leisure and facilities, has me wondering if the authors have lived and worked here yet.

North Horsham already has an identity and it is one established through communication and interaction with a community at a parish level and one wonders how such a brand statement may not be considered a little confusing for many residents who already identify with life in North Horsham.

Certainly many of those who live here have experienced more than 15 years of life in Horsham and they might be wondering where exactly Crawley and Rusper road now exist in the mind’s eye of town conversation.

If the last 15 years have taught us anything it should be to encourage us to avoid placing too many eggs in one basket and to avoid believing we have control over the economic destiny beyond more than a few years rather than decades.

Liberty might be looking forward but Horsham has now looked back on where it came from; and hopefully will not quickly believe that plans made for the future can make any sense today.