Developers outline ‘Poundbury-style’ plan to councillors for new town near Billingshurst

Developers who want to build a new mini town near Billingshurst have laid out their proposals in letters to all Horsham councillors.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 10:01 am

They say that the new town at Adversane - which they are calling Kingswood - would be modelled on the experimental town of Poundbury built on Duchy of Cornwall land in Dorset.

The developers - Our Place - say the town would ultimately consist of 3,000 houses, schools, shops, businesses, playing areas, allotments, cycleways and more, and would be built in phases.

Our Place director of delivery Simon Conibear was development manager for the Duchy of Cornwall and responsible for delivering the Poundbury settlement as an urban extension to Dorchester.

Our Place's masterplan for Kingswood at Adversane

In letters to every Horsham councillor he said: “I joined Our Place in 2016 with the purpose of performing the same function at Kingswood.

“Kingswood is proposed as a Legacy Development, assembled into single ownership, to be delivered in accordance with a carefully designed Masterplan.

“It will follow many of the initiatives tested at Poundbury over 20 years but be more attuned to the 21st century in terms of sustainability.”

He added: “It will be ‘of its place’, reflecting the styles, materials, habits and needs of this part of Sussex.

“It will follow the same mixed-use and employment generation principles of Poundbury, attach the same importance to architecture and sense of place, but have special regard to developments in transport and movement, and home working and self-sufficiency in the post-Covid world.

“It will have its own genius. It will strive to set a new benchmark.

“Kingswood will also exploit the opportunities of its location by collaborating with Brinsbury College in delivering educational and work experience opportunities to young people.

“There is crucially the potential for a railway station, and recreation and open space to improve living standards. As a Legacy Developer, Our Place will be in it for the long-term, carefully working through the scheme, collaborating with Horsham District Council and the emerging new community, and delivering a walkable settlement which will distinguish Sussex from other areas where development has not been so carefully planned.”

However, there has been strong public opposition to the proposals and a campaign group - BigSTAND - formed to fight the plans.

And the group is questioning the ability of the developers to deliver the new homes and infrastructure.

BigSTAND chairman Julian Trumper said “Aside from the fact that Adversane is a wholly inappropriate site for a new town, just as it was thrown out in 2010, how can Horsham Council even consider including Adversane in the Local Plan when Our Place’s track record of delivery is so poor?

“How can Horsham have any confidence that Our Place will be able to give cast-iron assurances that the necessary infrastructure will be put in place before any houses are occupied?

“The Our Place proposals will be a disaster for the local community and the local environment.”

In a statement this week in response to criticism of the company’s track record, Our Place said: “Our Place comprises individuals who have conceived, promoted and delivered some of the most transformative and sustainable communities in the UK.

“Our Place was formed as a legacy landowner to take those decades of experience to create something that is beautiful, sustainable and deliverable, as has been achieved elsewhere.

“Together we are proud of our track record and are more convinced than ever that the land we own at Kingswood is that place and we are ready to get on and deliver it.”

Poundbury has been endorsed by Prince Charles on whose land it is built. It is due for completion in 2025 when it is expected to house a population of 6,000.

The town currently provides employment for over 2,000 people in more than 180 businesses.