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 Current issues

November 2009 

Local Development Framework
(Updated October 2010 & March 2011)

Horsham District Council was one of the first in the country to complete its Core Strategy which was adopted in February 2007.  This sets out the key elements of the Council’s planning framework and core policies for the period up to 2018.  It includes the designation of two Strategic Locations west of Horsham and west of Crawley where the bulk of the new housing (some 4,500 unit) will be provided.


The current core strategy can be downloaded from

In 2009 the Council began its first review of the Core Strategy which it was intended would  take into account of the planning assumptions and housing targets contained in the South East Plan which covers the period up to 2026.  This required Horsham District to provide land for a further substantial number of new homes.  Although the precise figure was unclear it was likely to be around 6,000.


The options in the consultation paper included a new village of 4,000 homes, large settlements in the strategic gap between Crawley and Horsham, major extensions to Billingshurst and Southwater, and even building on Chesworth Farm country park. Also canvassed, but lacking any detail, was a new market town possibly developed jointly with Mid Sussex in the A23 corridor.

The Consultation paper can be downloaded from

The Horsham Society has long argued that it is wrong to continue looking for short term solutions to what is a long term problem.  In other words we should stop thinking the demand for new homes can be met entirely by adding to existing settlements. Towns and villages lose their identity if allowed to grow too large.  We need a radical new approach which recognises the need to plan for the long term and a new town would provide for much of the growth needed for the foreseeable future.  It would take the pressure off our existing towns and villages and allow them to develop where necessary more slowly.

This, together with rejection of all the other consultation options, formed the basis of our response to the Council, which was summarised in a letter to Chief Executive Tom Crowley.

In May 2010 the new Coalition Government announced its intention to change the planning system to give local communities more say over how many new homes should be built and where. Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wrote to all planning authorities essentially withdrawing the housing supply requirements contained in the South East Plan. Whilst welcome this alone does not solve the present problems. The current law requires planning authorities to maintain a five year forward supply of available land for housing and Horsham Council has recently lost two appeals for housing developments on land not assigned within the LDF, in part at least because it could not demonstrate it met the five year rule. Despite representations from Cllr Robert Nye, Leader of HDC, Mr Pickles has not agreed to withdraw this requirement.

In response to this problem in July HDC announced it intended to produce an Interim Statement on Managing Development showing how it proposed to address the shorter term housing needs of the District. 
A final consultation draft which outlined two options each for the release of parcels of land at Southwater and Billingshurst was unexpectedly withdrawn by the Council’s leadership before the full Council meeting in October, only to be reintroduced shortly afterwards. Follow the links below to read the consultation draft and the Society’s response.

The Council intends to press ahead with its review of the LDF core strategy, but to a slower timescale. What is undeniable is that we will need to find space for new housing in the years ahead and the numbers and locations will undoubtedly polarise views. The Horsham Society remains of the view that our town cannot accommodate further outward growth and still retain its character and the strengths of it community.

HDC Draft Interim Statement: Managing Development in Horsham District»
Our response to the Draft Interim Statement»
See also our article in the West Sussex County Times 18 September 2009»

Archived LDF pages

LDF progress report - June 2007»
A Design Statement for Horsham Town - January 2007»
Society comments on Joint Area Action Plan: issues & options paper - November 2006
Notes on the public examination - October 2006»
Statement of evidence for public examination - July 2006»