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Wates Developments has submitted its formal application for outline planning consent for up to 193 dwellings on land west of Mill Straight, Southwater. This refers to the Hogs Wood field site, pictured above, which lies directly south of The Fieldings and Rascals Close. And you only have until 6th January 2015 to register objections so urgent action is required!

In a letter dated 16th December, residents whose property lies adjacent to the field were informed by Horsham District Council that Wates had submitted its threatened planning application, officially designated reference DC/14/2582.

Also in December, the Government’s inspector issued an initial report following his public examination of the Horsham District Planning Framework, the main points of which can be read on the West Sussex County Times website HERE. Although the inspector found HDC’s local plan to be basically sound, he wants the total number of new homes built between now and 2031 increased from 13,000 to 15,000, and has given them six months to show how this can be achieved. Importantly for us, he finds that the allocation for 2,500 homes in North Horsham and just 500 in Southwater is sound, rather than advocating that Southwater should take 2,750 as suggested by those representing North Horsham at the public examination. So this, at least, is good news.

However, this still leaves the matter of Hogs Wood field, about which the inspector’s preliminary report says nothing because the Wates’ proposal wasn’t included in HDC’s plan. As the application has now been submitted for planning consent, we need everyone to take action, otherwise in six months time this site is likely to be included in HDC’s revised plan!

How to object:

  • It’s easy to file your objection online. Click HERE and enter the application number DC/14/2582 in the search box. On the next page, click the ‘Comments’ tab, fill in your details, tick your reason for comment and type your comment below that.
  • Or send an email to ensuring you state the application’s reference number in the subject line.
  • Alternatively, you can write to the planning department at Horsham District Council, Park North, North Street, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1RL, quoting the application’s number.

We won’t provide you with any prepared text for this, as HDC will simply count all similarly-worded objections (no matter how many) as one single protest, and your effort would be wasted. It’s also important that objections are relevant. In HDC’s words:

“Relevant planning considerations include: Local Development Framework Policies, Government Guidance, case law and previous considerations, highway safety, traffic, parking, noise, disturbance, smells, design, appearance, materials, character, overshadowing, loss of privacy, loss of trees, effect on Listed Buildings.”  [Matters such as the effect on property values or the loss of a view are not considered to be relevant.]

You may find it useful to review some of the comments and objections that others have made. These are available on the planning website. We believe the following matters are relevant:

  • Southwater has already seen developments totalling over 220 houses in the last 2 years.
  • If HDC’s local plan is adopted, then over 500 new homes are already planned for the village.
  • Stretching back well beyond memory, Hogs Wood field has been arable land. As such, any development that takes this land out of agricultural production fails the crucial test of sustainability because (by definition) it prejudices the ability of future generations to feed themselves.
  • The proposed site is in Shipley parish, not Southwater. Wates hope the development will be ‘absorbed’ (their word) into Southwater, but residents here know that our infrastructure is over-capacity already.
  • The proposed development would run counter to several policy provisions contained in the Shipley Parish Design Statement. This is available to read or download by clicking HERE.
  • Shipley Parish Council would gain a significant financial advantage from developing Hogs Wood field. However, we feel it should consider developments that comply with its own Design Statement, are in its own village centre, and that depend on its own infrastructure, rather than piggy-backing off Southwater.
  • The proposal to build on Hogs Wood field was rejected in August 2014 as ‘not currently developable’ when the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) was considered.
  • The drawings contained in the planning application differ from those displayed by Wates at their public exhibition on October 10th.
  • You may feel that site access via a new roundabout is likely to produce traffic tailbacks during the morning and evening peak periods and may even be unsafe.
  • Capacity of everything, from schools to GP surgery to sewers to roads to parking, is beyond reasonable limits, and this is why HDC, in its local plan, has seen Southwater as capable of taking a maximum of 500 more homes (the number that is already being considered under the Berkeley Homes’ application).

Please be aware of the deadline to object to this planning application (reference DC/14/2582) and make your views known to Horsham District Council before the 6th January!

Should you require any further information about this proposed development, or have questions about the objection process, please email Paul Seabrook or Peter Handley who both live in the area affected and are co-ordinating KSG’s efforts to stop this.