The aim of FUTURE HORSHAM is to ensure that our district is a place where people and communities come first; A place where character, appeal and viability of our settlements, surrounding countryside and environment are protected and enhanced; and where economic benefit is evenly spread across the whole district. A place fairly, sensibly and openly governed and planned.
We are in the final consultation concerning a significant build on the greenfields North of Horsham, the Strategic Gap between Horsham and Crawley.
Consultation OPEN: ENDS TUESDAY, MAy 5, 2015
What does all this mean?
Serious flaws in the proposed Main Modifications (MMs) and the consultation procedures followed by HDC:
The whole exercise is fundamentally wrong in that it is based on the false premise that all the aspects of the original HDPF (April 2014) that are not addressed in the MMs have been endorsed by the Planning Inspector (PI).
It is even stated on the website :
http://horsham.limehouse.co.uk/portal/planning/hdpfmm/hdpf_main_modifications – that "The Planning Inspector supported all the main points that made up the strategy but asked the Council to do further work to address concerns raised by him." The reality is that the PI's Initial Findings – his only report to date:-
a) States clearly that the findings are only preliminary, without indicating the process / timetable by which his more considered conclusions will be delivered;
b) Finds only certain elements of the Plan to be sound (main housing allocations) while avoiding any findings on most other components;
c) Ignores vital evidence regarding key components of the Plan (e.g. the viability of the proposed North Horsham business park);
d) Fails to address other key matters entirely (e.g. infrastructure), CIL ( costs to taxpayer currently at around £150 for every man, woman and child in the district - these costs could rise. Taxpayer has already invested in infrastructure at Southwater to prepare the village for a long-planned housing and school build - but this investment has been thrown away), costs of school transport and traffic issues, distance to water/sewage plant, cycle and pedestrian distances, viability and cost of probable modifications to internal Horsham Roads ( e.g. new roundabout at the corner of Pondtail Road and Pondtail Dr),
HDC / Procedure
e) Council was required to vote unnecessarily quickly and without having complete evidence and data (see below). Hence there could be no discussion of the MMs at the Council meeting on 18 March, with a majority of councillors being terrified (possibly whipped?) into voting for the consultation going ahead on the basis that failure to get the amended Plan approved without delay would be far more damaging to the District than agreeing to a defective plan; Documents supporting the new consultation which opened on May 23rd and which was voted on on March 18th are dated in April, most notably the EGA supplementary report from NLP on employment, which actually gives an April 2015 date on the front cover.
f) Missing information included:
Justification for increase in estimated housing needs from 650 to 750 dpa (13,000 to 15,000 over 20 years), including data such as housing and business Locally Generated Needs study (MM12);
University campus (MM9) is absent from the existing Plan - belatedly added without complete description or justification or any details such as costs and economic rationale;
Explanation for restriction of size of North Horsham Local Centre (MM17). Appears to indicate superstore (para 7.48 of HDPF) might not be built if this would negatively impact the town centre. How / when would this be decided and what effect would it have on vehicle journeys / traffic out of the development for shopping elsewhere? Liberty's latest propaganda indicates clearly it will not, in which case amendment to para 7.48 should have been included – also in track changed version of HDPF.
Transport Infrastructure (MM23). This points to the need to plug the huge gap in the HDPF on this issue (barely mentioned by the PI) but asks the Council to take it on trust that the issue will be resolved.
Failure to address pressing need for secondary school serving Southwater.
g) Persistent failure to hold public meetings or otherwise respond to justified concerns raised by members of the public, including in the local press.
h) Objectivity of PI and familiarity with local sites and proposals unsubstantiated. PI is prioritising concerns of developers at the expense of public concerns over the environment and in defiance of objective economic evidence.
i) Off the record communications with members of HDC staff and representatives. FOI requests denied on spurious grounds.
j) PI lost Brett Associates study on transport infrastructure until after Inspection – PI did not pick up on even when residents referred to it in their contributions (subsequently ignored Brett Associates report even though it was damning, incomplete, full or errors (traffic, access to the town centre, pollution, cycle and pedestrian distances, bus routes)
k) Bias and inconsistency on housing numbers (optimistic employment growth forecast; dismissal of Affordable Housing as an important factor; disregard for market build rates; disregard of brownfield sites; unsubstantiated and illogical opinion that NoH employment site had best chance of commercial success without supporting evidence)
l) No mention of secondary school issues and continued cost of school transport from Southwater to Horsham ( as current HDC council blocked an alternative housing build in Southwater, which would have delivered a school needed for the community)
m) CiL issue ignored. Cil ( Community Infrastructure Levy ) for a build on this greenfield site ( also on Strategic Gap between Horsham and Crawley ) will cost every man, woman and child in the district at least £150, that is, if only 2500 houses are built.
CLICK HERE to see documents AND OBJECTION POINTS FROM PREVIOUS CONSULTATION(MAY 2014).
To view a video explaining how to post objection - click here.
HDC MAP - SEE PAGE 224 OF THE BELOW DOC.
Simplified map of proposed development area below