LETTER: Running scared of the voters

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Cllr Jim Rae (Holbrook East) last year set out his support in a half page article in this newspaper for building in the Strategic Gap thereby tearing up 30 years of HDC’s planning polices (‘Communities now have a true stake in their local economies’, 4.7.13, p25).

Despite the overwhelming evidence against building on the green fields between Horsham and Crawley the Cabinet, led by Cllr Dawe and his deputy Cllr Croft, rejected numerous alternative strategic sites and brownfield sites through the Cabinet’s flawed Sustainability Appraisal of the other sites. This Appraisal document will now be the focus of scrutiny by the Inspector, lawyers and planning agents.

But despite all this Cllr Mr Rae still waxes lyrical about North Horsham against both the evidence and his own electors’ wishes (Horsham edition, p38). Why?

Has Cllr Rae not read the objections to HDC’s proposed 20 year housing strategy by neighbouring councils Mole Valley (MVDC) and Surrey County Council (SCC) who are responsible for part of the A24. Both MVDC’s and SCC’s objections can be found on HDC’s website.

SCC object to the Cabinet’s plan stating that: ‘Horsham District Transport and Development Study indicates that development of the land north of Horsham would result in an increase in vehicle trips travelling north into Surrey towards existing problem locations. These locations include the stretch of the A24 between Kingsfold and Capel, North Holmwood roundabout, A24/A25 Cockerel roundabout, the Leatherhead bypass including the M25 J9a roundabout and the A281 at Bramley and Shalford. A comprehensive transport assessment to demonstrate the additional amounts of traffic movement north on the A24 that would be generated by all the residential and business development proposed in the strategic allocation shall be undertaken prior to the determination of planning applications for the site’s development.’

So why did north Horsham councillors Rae and Croft vote for this flawed plan when Surrey County Council objected to it on highway grounds and state that a ‘comprehensive transport assessment’ needs to be undertaken?

I somehow doubt that these two councillors will explain themselves on Tuesday November 11 to the Inspector. At the time of writing on November 2, neither of them are on the list of speakers that have asked to speak to the Inspector. If they were so confident of their plan surely they would both come to tell the Inspector all about it.

They are running scared of the Inspector and they are running scared of the voters who can choose new councillors in May 2015.


Parry Close, Horsham