Skip to navigation

Numbers’ hocus-pocus has huge ramifications for Horsham District.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017 13:03

Approval in 2015 of the Horsham District’s local plan, the ‘HDPF’, by the examining Planning Inspector, was conditional on the Council’s acceptance of his imposed interim-housing target of 800 houses per year, to be reviewed by Horsham District Council (HDC) by November 2018.

Coincident with this review, is the Government’s ‘proposed’ use of a new formula-based method to determine housing-targets; recently the subject of a poorly-publicised consultation, ‘Planning for the Right Homes in the Right Places’.

HDC has calculated that the new method could increase the District’s all-ready excessive target to 1,173 houses pa for the period 2016-2036; possibly more because of the obligation to meet the housing needs of other councils. 

An increase of this magnitude would require one or more additional strategic sites and doubtless result in yet more development on countryside adjoining villages across the District and neighbourhood plans would have to be redone.

HDC has made public its concern that a target of 1,173 houses pa is unachievable and would therefore open the District to indiscriminate development and that without major government investment local infrastructure and essential services, already overstretched, would not cope.

Hence HDC’s stance that “The government needs to understand that we simply cannot keep increasing the house build at this rate”.

Both CPRE Sussex and HDC have found the proposed new method to be flawed; it is mathematical hocus-pocus. 

We are concerned, too, at the failure of the consultation to recognise that ‘viability’ assessments, which are permitted by government, are reducing the supply of affordable homes, as happened North of Horsham, and that Councils need discretionary powers to address slow delivery by house-builders where builders reduce completions to maintain profit margins and put at risk 5year housing supply.

There are also serious implications for the natural environment, because much of the District’s countryside is without designated protection. In consequence, flora, fauna and habitats are not accorded the level of protection applicable to development sites inside the AONB and SDNP.

Hence, how development impacts on the natural environment is of little consequence to the District’s decision takers.

Some of the farmland and landscape that is to be lost to the North of Horsham development: 2740 new homes of which only 495 (18%), instead of the 963 (35%) required by the local plan, are to be ‘affordable'  


join us

Back to top