Nik Butler: will we fall victim to Sam I Am’s high pressure tactics?

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Watching the back and forth of planning conversations across Horsham District you may be forgiven for thinking you were watching one of Dr Seuss ridiculous poems unfolding.

The titular Green Eggs and Ham presented by Sam I Am are now presented by Planning with an equally undesired result. Its easy to see how the verse begins; “I am Plan, Plan I am. That Plan I am, that Plan I am. I do not like that Plan I am”.

The absurd verse continues to suggest possible planning alternatives; “in a box, with a fox, on a boat with a goat?”

Though given the recent storms I suspect that for many newly built properties those suggestions are now more a reality and with further development many more may experience the same.

However the poem soon diverges from experience as the plans on offer are provided with very few choices and in some cases, simply none at all.

The ever present reason giving is “housing shortage” and this reason is repeated with a frequency that would leave Dr Seuss bemused.

Personally it feels that we have had a housing shortage for over 50 years. You would think that in the space of two generations we would have raced ahead of that issue but apparently not.

When I go in search of clear information detailing how this occurs it seems the details are enfolded in a fog of reports and “facts” which merely repeat the instruction; develop and build more.

Worse though is the belief that building more houses will make the cost of housing cheaper. A belief which fails to understand the heart of these austerity measures which are causing those cuts across our district.

With the average house price in West Sussex around £270,000 its hard to see how any property owner of the last two decades would wish to see the prices return to 1980s, or even 1970s levels.

So it is that the clarion call to continue to build more houses goes out and the damoclean threat of developers being let loose is run out to quell the murmurs of those who question the need.

I fear though that the memories of the district will be as the victim of Sam I Am’s high pressure tactics. To discover the joy of Green Eggs and Ham. “I do so like development plans, thank you , thank you Plan I am.”