Decision due on Horsham Novartis site redevelopment plans

Artist's impressions of redevelopment plans for the former Novartis site
Artist's impressions of redevelopment plans for the former Novartis site

The five-year saga involving the Novartis site in Horsham could soon be entering its final chapter.

The 18.6-acre site, in Parsonage Road, has been the centre of some big plans since the pharmaceutical giant left town in 2014, such as developing it into a university campus or a ‘world renowned’ science park.

While those ideas died a death, Horsham District Council’s planning committee will now consider an outline application from West Sussex County Council, which bought the site in 2016 for £16m.

The application includes up to 300 homes, 25,000sqm of employment space, and improvements to the access from Parsonage Road and Wimblehurst Road. The locally listed 1939 Art Deco building at the centre of the site will be converted into flats.

At a meeting on Tuesday August 6, the committee will consider the access arrangements, with all other matters reserved for a later date.

There have been objections from the Wimblehurst Road Residents Group, the Horsham District Cycle Forum and the Horsham Society, with concerns raised about overdevelopment of the site, a lack of priority given to pedestrians and cyclists, and traffic surveys which were seen as ‘inadequate’.

The district council also received 60 letters of objection and two letters of support, the latter of which said the development would be a ‘very important regeneration opportunity for Horsham that will have significant social and economic benefits for the town’.

In its planning application, the county council said: “The former Novartis site offers a once in a generation opportunity to create a new sustainable neighbourhood that will underline Horsham’s ambition to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

“The proposals will deliver a range of modern and flexible enterprise opportunities, well designed new homes, including affordable, and a new local centre that will serve the site and draw in the wider community.”

The northern part of the Novartis site has been developed separately for 160 homes.

The meeting will be held in the conference room at Parkside, in Chart Way on Tuesday August 6 at 5.30pm. Members of the public are welcome to attend.