HDC was again threatened recently with (NPPF) ‘presumption in favour’ for a further 50 houses in Billingshurst, because Horsham District is behind an arbitrary and unattainable housing target. That was despite the fact that HD developers achieved 64 per cent against a national average outturn of 56 per cent, based on population growth.
Of course, developers will only build what they can sell and one of them has made clear that the company’s objective is to optimise prices rather than volume. HDC cannot make them build to meet an arbitrary target.
Accordingly the NPPF continues to facilitate indiscriminate and speculative development in a village that is already on track for a rapid expansion of well over 50 per cent, putting further strain on the community and on the infrastructure.
Also, as Cllr Arthur pointed out, the south of the District already has in train, more than five times the South East Plan target of 190 dwellings pa and it is surely HDC’s duty to actively manage patterns of growth, to avoid undue distortion in development profiles.
The development site is outside of the built up area and it comes close on the heels of an even larger development, where the concrete has hardly dried. It does not comply with CP1, it is remote from major centres of employment and there has been no demonstrated local need for the houses. Accordingly it will worsen HD’s carbon footprint.
Ministers and local MPs continue to peddle the line that HDC will have better control, once HDC’s Local Plan (HDPF) has been adopted by the Planning Inspector, whereas a plan based on 650 new houses pa (neglecting the 2,000 backlog) will surely continue to leave developers in the driving seat. It is about time that they came clean.
Arun Road, Billingshurst