Horsham District Planning Framework
shambolic catalogue of false starts and U turns HDC
finally submitted its Proposed Strategy which was
considered by a Planning Inspector in public
examination in November 2014. On 19th December
he published his Initial Findings (see below).
Whilst he accepted the Council’s case for the North
Horsham Strategic site for a business park and 2,500
homes, he instructed the Council to identify sites
for at least 2,000 additional homes. He suspended
his hearing for six months to allow the Council to
do this and to consult on its proposals. This was a
major, but unsurprising, blow for the Council. The
Society’s initial response can be found below.
In March 2015 the Council approved its proposed Main
Modifications to the Planning Framework which was
subject to a further period of consultation before
being forwarded to the Inspector. What the Council
proposed was a re-hash of its original plan with
only one new site for 150 homes south of Southwater,
which failed its own definition of a strategic site.
The rest relied on smoke and mirrors adjustments to
previous figures and a new, and wholly unacceptable,
insertion of the word “around” before them all. The
North Horsham strategic site, originally intended to
provide 2,500 homes will now provide “around 2,500”,
with “around” being defined as plus or minus 10%. In
other words the figure will now be at least 2,750.
Not only was this approach misleading, in our view
it still failed to explain convincingly how the
Inspector’s target will be met.
The Inspector re-opened his examination on 3 July
2015, following which he wrote to the Council to say
he was increasing the district;s planning target
from the Council’s last offer of 750 homes a year to
800. This represents a rejection of the Council’s
flawed approach to strategic planning and is
probably 50-100 homes a year (or 1,000 - 2,000 over
the 20 year life of the plan) more than we would
have had to accommodate had the HDC done its job
properly. Furthermore, it is exactly what the
Society predicted would happen.
Had HDC last year set what, at that stage, would
have been a more realistic target of 700 homes a
year, instead of 650, the Inspector would quite
possibly have accepted it and confirmed the
Framework before Christmas 2014. Instead, the
Council must now review the Framework within the
next three years to determine where an extra 1000
homes will be built.
Planning Inspector’s initial findings 19 December
following receipt of the Planning Inspector’s
New threats to our town»
HDC Preferred Strategy: other options»