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Letter: Crawley consultation has big consequences for Horsham District

12th September 2019

Letter published by the West Sussex County Times, 12 September 2019.


The Crawley Borough Council (CBC) Consultation Draft Local Plan 2020 – 2035 is now the subject of a public consultation. This plan, which has received little or no publicity, is of considerable consequence for communities in Horsham District – and in Mid Sussex District, too.

Using the Government’s mandatory hocus-pocus formula-based ‘standard method’, CBC has identified that it has a minimum housing ‘need’ of 752 houses per year, therefore at least 11,281 houses in total over the plan period (752 x 15).

CBC has determined that because of ‘land constraints’ it can accommodate no more than 4,806 new homes within the borough – and that the 6,475 new homes that it is unable to accommodate, Crawley’s so-called ‘unmet need’, will have to be built outside of the borough, in Horsham and Mid Sussex Districts, in compliance with the Government’s imposed ‘Duty to Cooperate’.

Whether the 6,475 new homes (432 houses pa over 15 years) will be apportioned equally between Horsham and Mid Sussex has yet to be revealed.

Communities also need to be aware that CBC’s housing target may well be increased by the planning inspectorate because the Government has stipulated that the ‘standard method’ only provides ‘a minimum starting point in determining the number of homes needed in an area’. Doubtless developers will exploit to the full.

Note, too, that it would appear from the draft plan that the 6,475 or more homes will generate little or no affordable housing for either Horsham or Mid Sussex District.

Other councils, too, including Brighton and Hove and Adur, will seek to offload the houses that they ‘need’ but cannot accommodate, on Horsham District.

Consultation closes 5pm 16 September.

Yours faithfully,

Dr R F Smith
Trustee CPRE Sussex