Second debate due on Novartis redevelopment

Plans for former Novartis site: Illustrative impression of the Enterprise Park Square Concept SUS-190401-105704001
Plans for former Novartis site: Illustrative impression of the Enterprise Park Square Concept SUS-190401-105704001

A second debate on the redevelopment of the former Novartis site in Horsham is set to be held next week.

West Sussex County Council bought the land in 2016 and is hoping to build 300 new homes as well as employment and commercial floorspace.

Its application was discussed by Horsham District Council’s planning committee north in early August.

A number of concerns were raised ranging from the impact on traffic congestion in the area to road safety and the need for a footbridge over the railway line.

But when a councillor suggested the application be refused the council’s director of place Barbara Childs stepped in and essentially ended the debate.

She said that, because the committee ‘was minded to make a decision in which there are likely to be significant cost implications for the council’, the matter should be referred to the full council for discussion.

Her decision was in line with the powers given to the director of place in the council’s constitution.

A full council meeting to discuss the application has now been scheduled for Wednesday September 4.

According to officers: “As outlined in the committee report, given the details comments of two separate technical transport experts, which has resulted in amendments to the scheme, it is the view of officers that the proposal cannot be refused on either the lack of sustainable transport modes or highway safety, and the scheme is considered acceptable.

“Should permission be withheld, this would delay the commencement of works on site and the delivery of both new homes and much needed commercial floorspace for Horsham town. A refusal on highway safety grounds would also leave the council open to challenge for significant costs at appeal.”

Following the planning committee meeting Lib Dem councillors raised strong concerns about the incident as they argued the meeting was stopped prematurely.