Last week the news sheet that is published by Southwater’s District Councillors, Claire Vickers, Ian Howard and John Chidlow, was delivered through letterboxes throughout the parish. Its headline article addresses the current position regarding planning proposals and explains the importance of the Horsham District Planning Framework. For those who’ve not read it, the full text is quoted below together with a pertinent piece from the reverse page.
THE HOUSING DILEMMA
The Government expects us to give permission to build around 13,000 houses in the Horsham District over the next twenty years. In theory we set our own level of the number of houses needed but this has to then go before a Government Inspector and if not enough it will be rejected and we start all over again. Until this number has been “inspected” and agreed whenever the District Council turns down a planning application it is fairly certain that it will go to appeal and then we will lose due to the requirement to make up over the next five years the significant shortfall in the number of homes planned but not built during the recent recession. It effectively leaves us vulnerable to applications for large housing developments throughout the Horsham District including a huge number in Southwater.
To put a stop to this situation, the District Council has now approved a document called the “Horsham District Planning Framework”. This contains the 13,000 housing number and also tells the Inspector where the extra houses are to go. This framework includes a major new development of 2,500 homes north of Horsham, 1,500 homes across the District through Neighbourhood Plans and locally a plan for around 500 homes on land to the west of Worthing Road. If the Framework is agreed by the Planning Inspector in November it should put an end to speculative applications by developers. However, please note that Berkeley Homes have contested the document and wish to put forward a case to the Planning Inspector for a much larger strategic site on the land west of Southwater to take about 2,750 dwellings.
We fully understand residents’ concerns about house building in our area, especially as Berkeleys have now put in an application for 634 homes, but the alternatives are much larger applications which, without an approved 5 year land supply, would most likely be approved on appeal.
Thanks to some firm representation from HDC officers and your local councillors, by keeping the build area at a reasonable distance, the current application minimises the impact on Great House Farm and allows it to remain viable as a working farm.
Provided the Government Planning Inspector confirms that the District Planning Framework document is sound and meets Government policy, the larger agricultural land area around Southwater will have some protection against further unplanned development.
In summary, the District Plan proposes about 500 homes in Southwater, but in the meantime Berkeley Homes are continuing to promote extensive development on all farm land west of Worthing Road. Residents are rightly concerned about traffic flow through our village, in particular the congestion at Hop Oast roundabout in the morning and evening rush hour periods. Your District Councillors share these concerns. We will continue to make sure that your voice is heard.
Major issues for Southwater in next 3 to 5 years as perceived by residents
- Lack of affordable homes for local residents of Southwater
- Siting of proposed Horsham Football Club near Hop Oast roundabout
- The current Berkeley Homes application exceeds the HDC strategic site proposal of about 500 homes – 634 in the application as currently submitted
- Berkeley Homes may make representation at the examination hearing of our District Plan for a much larger strategic site application on land west of Southwater to take up to about 2,750 dwellings
- The possible second runway at Gatwick