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January 2007 

Press release: Protecting Horsham's Town Greens

Update 6 March 2007: proposed development at Ramsey Close unanimously refused by planning committee

30 January 2007

John Steele, Chairman of the Horsham Society, said

“The current controversy over the sale of a town green to Saxon Homes to build social housing exposes a conflict of interest at the heart of the difficult decisions which the Council sometimes has to take.

Yes, we need more social housing.  Yes, the Council is right to look for suitable ways to enable providers to obtain affordable land.  But, no, not by destroying forever a town green.

The Society supports the policy of requiring 40% of new homes west of Horsham to be affordable.  That is the right way to provide housing for those that cannot or choose not to buy their own homes;  not by destroying one of the precious green lungs in our already heavily developed town.

The Society has been impressed by the approach to planning for the development west of Horsham.  The Council and consultants seem intent on building a new community with a real sense of place.  Councillors were recently taken on a tour to see successful developments and what can be achieved by good design, including the creation of green spaces.  We are therefore surprised that the Council should even contemplate development on an existing green space which its predecessors had the foresight to create.

For some time we have been concerned that the Council seems to have difficulty in turning down inappropriate planning applications because they are swayed by issues of social need.

The members of the planning committee should be in no doubt, and if necessary their legal advisors should remind them, that they must consider the Ramsey Close application solely on its planning merits.  What, they must ask themselves, would they have done if the application was from a speculative developer to build two five bedroomed houses on this town green?  In planning terms the situation is the same.  We have no doubt such an application would be thrown out.  So too, therefore, must the Saxon Weald proposal.“

Green Spaces article - December 1994 newsletter»

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