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PLANNING APPLICATION

At the end of March, Berkeley Homes submitted an outline planning application for 634 homes, exactly as they presented their proposal to us in the Beeson House exhibition at the start of the monthNow we have to make it quite clear not only that there are many flaws in the application but also that if Horsham District Council allows this to go through it will be doing so against the wishes of the vast majority of the population.

To this end, we have launched an online petition entitled SAVE SOUTHWATER FROM OVERDEVELOPMENT, which you can add your name to right now by clicking HERE!

It’s important that you then spread the word amongst your friends and neighbours, either in person or by sharing it via social media and e-mail. Anyone who is aged 18 or over and lives in Southwater itself, or in an adjacent parish that would be affected by yet more development here, is welcome to sign.

A Facebook Page has recently been set up to publicise this petition. Because of the way Facebook operates, activity and interaction is essential to ensure this page is displayed in personal News Feeds, and therefore works to generate publicity for us. So please visit that page and ‘like’ it. From there you can share the petition and use the built-in facility to invite your friends to ‘like’ the page too. Do check back there frequently for updates and make sure you ‘like’ individual posts and comments. There’s also an active Facebook Group where you can join in with discussion, post photos, offer help with specific tasks or simply read and ‘like’ the comments of others. All this will help enormously!

Over the coming weeks, we will be out and about in the village with leaflets and a paper version of the petition, collecting signatures in person. In addition to campaigning in public places, such as Lintot Square and outside the schools, we plan to go door-to-door to ensure the whole community is made aware of this threat and is given the chance to voice their opposition to it.

This is a big undertaking and we don’t have much time to pull it together so we need lots of help! If you are willing to cover even just your own road, or perhaps a few others too, please contact us as soon as possible.

Although the petition is now circulating, it is still vital that you make your personal opposition to Berkeley Homes’ planning application known directly to Horsham District Council. This can be achieved by adding a comment to the relevant section on HDC’s website, which is found HERE. Enter DC/14/0590 in the box, click the search button, then on the next page click the ‘Make a public comment’ tab, and fill out the details. It’s wise to tick the little box at the foot of the form that says ‘Send me an email confirming my comments’ before you click the final submit button.

Alternatively, objections can be made by letter, addressed to Helen Lowe, Planning Officer, Horsham District Council, Park North, Horsham, RH12 1RL, or by e-mailing her: helen.lowe@horsham.gov.uk. In either case, you must quote the application’s reference number DC/14/0590. Should you have any questions, Helen Lowe’s direct phone number is 01403 215346.

Regarding the time-scale for objections to Berkeley Homes’ application, some of us have received a letter from HDC saying that they must be lodged within 21 days, and indeed the formal notice published in the West Sussex County Times stated this. However, it is misleading nonsense.

I have taken this matter up with HDC and they’ve made it plain to me that consideration of this outline application is very unlikely to come before the Planning Committee until July, and it may well be even later. A date for the hearing will be published subsequently. I have HDC’s unconditional assurance that all objections received before the date of the hearing will be accepted and considered.

Nonetheless, it would be most sensible for everyone to have lodged their personal objections (using one of the methods discussed above) by early June if at all possible.

The following summarises the points we think are important, but it will have much greater impact if you tell HDC in your own words what is important to you personally:

  • This is unsustainable ‘bad’ development that will do enormous harm to the quality of life enjoyed by this community with almost no benefit.
  • This is a dormitory development with no work creation in situ. The vast majority of people will leave it by car and most travel north to work.
  • The numbers of houses, and their layout in a long stream with a single main artery road, is grossly excessive.
  • Over 1000 extra cars will emanate from the development, most accessing the Worthing Road at points that are already extremely busy and dangerous in peak times.
  • A good proportion of these cars will make regular use of the back route through narrow country lanes to get to Christ’s Hospital railway station or into Horsham via the Boars Head junction, which is dangerous and there are no plans to improve it.
  • Construction traffic cannot be separated from existing traffic during what would be a very long phased build out – an absolute minimum of 6 years and up to 12! The effect on the quality of life of everyone living nearby and those using the Worthing Road will be catastrophic and prolonged.
  • Parking provisions are totally inadequate within the development itself.
  • Public parking at Lintot Square and Christ’s Hospital station is already insufficient for the current demand at peak times – again, there are no plans to improve this.
  • Villagers are already experiencing great difficulty in getting an appointment to see a GP at Southwater Surgery – unless it’s an emergency, waits of up to 2 weeks are quite common now.
  • The risk of anthrax can never be zero and we dispute the right of either Berkeley Homes or HDC to impose that risk on residents – it can only be totally avoided by leaving Great House Farm fields alone.
  • Animals and an active farm will cause constant problems with the buildings and roads of the development so close by.
  • Great House Farm must be preserved in total – this country needs to increase food production by 70% by 2050, not concrete over its dwindling farmland. The farm is also hugely valued as an amenity by villagers.
  • The sewerage system is already unable to cope with sewage bubbling up in gardens in Cripplegate Lane – what will another 634 homes do to that?
  • Similarly, the fresh water system is only just able to cope now.
  • We already have one of the worst emergency ambulance response times in the county. This can only get worse.

So, in summary, you can do your bit to KEEP SOUTHWATER GREEN by taking the following actions:

  • Please sign up to KSG’s new e-mail list for regular updates on what’s happening – simply click HERE then fill in your details. To activate it you must respond to the automated e-mail you’ll receive asking you to confirm your subscription.
  • Add your name to the petition, both online and in person.
  • Join the KSG Facebook Group and ‘like’ the SAVE SOUTHWATER FROM OVERDEVELOPMENT Facebook Page.
  • Volunteer to help gather signatures in your neighbourhood.
  • Lodge your personal objections to the planning application with HDC as soon as possible.

We don’t have much time to ensure Horsham District Council receives a clear message that the majority of the residents of Southwater do not want this huge development. By working together as a community, we can beat it. Please take action now!