JULY 15 2021 – “DESPITE MASSIVE LOCAL OPPOSITION, SPINELESS HORSHAM DISTRICT COUNCIL CABINET APPROVES HOMES ENGLAND’S MONSTROUS £3BN MASTERPLAN OF 10,000 HOUSES, BURYING IFIELD GOLF COURSE UNDER CONCRETE & TARMAC, CREATING AN ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE, AND CONDEMNING THE ANCIENT PARISH OF IFIELD TO A NIGHTMARE ‘GIANT BUILDING SITE’ FOR YEARS TO COME”

“DESPITE MASSIVE LOCAL OPPOSITION, SPINELESS HORSHAM DISTRICT COUNCIL CABINET APPROVES HOMES ENGLAND’S MONSTROUS £3BN MASTERPLAN OF 10,000 HOUSES, BURYING IFIELD GOLF COURSE UNDER CONCRETE & TARMAC, CREATING AN ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE, AND CONDEMNING THE ANCIENT PARISH OF IFIELD TO A NIGHTMARE ‘GIANT BUILDING SITE’ FOR YEARS TO COME” – RICHARD W. SYMONDS – IFIELD SOCIETY CO-FOUNDER

 

Photo by Annabel Helm

 

Ifield Society and ‘Save West of Ifield’ supporters outside the Horsham District Council Parkside offices, before the July 15 Cabinet Meeting [Photo by Karen Dunn – Crawley Observer/West Sussex County Times]

Horsham’s cabinet backs local plan which proposes thousands of new homes at Buck Barn, Ifield, Southwater and Billingshurst

Horsham District Council’s draft Local Plan has taken its next step to being adopted.

During a meeting of the cabinet on Thursday (July 15), members agreed to send its Regulation 19 planning document to the full council for approval later this month.

The Plan will then be subjected to a further six weeks of consultation – starting in September – before being submitted to the Secretary of State.

Councillors were met by a group of protesters outside Parkside, the majority of whom were opposing the inclusion of 3,250 homes on land West of Ifield in the Local Plan – the first stage of a 10,000-home development.

 
 

 

 

Others were opposed to the inclusion of a new settlement of 2,100 homes at Buck Barn – a further 900 would not be able to be delivered during the Plan period.

Owen Hydes, chairman of Nuthurst Parish Council, told the meeting: “At parish level we have not listened to any support at all for a new town at Buck Barn.

“A new town quickly planned by a developer and destroying acre upon acre of the Low Weald is not what our communities want.”

Describing the out-pouring of opposition to the proposals, Mr Hydes said almost 20,000 people had signed a petition, with 8,000 writing to the government and hundreds more bombarding the district councillors with emails and letters.

He added: “Local people have used their voice – now they want to be listened to and to see local democracy actually work.”

Questions were asked about why a development at Adversane had not been included in the Plan rather than Buck Barn.

And some councillors sought assurances that unpopular plans for 1,100 homes at Rookwood Golf Course had been completely dropped.

Concerns were also raised about biodiversity and the impact the new homes – and the traffic they would generate – would have on the environment.

Government housing targets piled on Horsham have demanded 897 homes per year be built.

On top of that, the district has a responsibility to take on some houses which neighbouring Crawley simply cannot find the space to build.

A ‘stepped trajectory’ is proposed with a housing target of 900 homes in the first five years of the Plan, rising to 1,180 homes per year for the remaining 12 years.

Roger Noel, cabinet member for leisure & culture, summed up the problems faced by the council, especially given the calls and objections from all corners about the sites on the table.

He said: “We have a statutory duty, I’m afraid, imposed on us by this government to provide housing in this area.

“Wherever the houses go, I’m sorry to say it’s going to interfere with biodiversity and the green infrastructure that we already have.

“It pains me but we are going to have to put these houses somewhere – we can’t walk away from it.

“We can’t walk away from the direction we’ve been given by government to put these houses in.

“If we say no to Buck Barn then we get the houses in Adversane, or we get them in Mayfield, or we get more built around Horsham.

“We have to put the houses in.”

Other strategic sites proposed in the Local Plan include 1,200 homes on land west of Southwater and 650 homes on land east of Billingshurst.

Officers were asked why the council even had to have a new Local Plan, with suggestions that it could simply rely on its current one which stretches to 2031.

This was not an option.

Lynn Lambert, cabinet member for planning & development, said: “This council is facing an unprecedented housing target and, without a Plan, the consequences will be more and uncontrolled development across the district, which does not provide the infrastructure which the communities need.

“The council is therefore faced with making difficult choices, including the location of the new homes.

“In any Local Plan, there are always those who do not agree with the sites selected by the council.

“However, there will be an opportunity to raise these issues as part of the Regulation 19 period of representation, where you can raise concerns and suggest amendments to the Plan.”

The full council will meet on Wednesday July 28.

FURTHER COMMENTS

Dear All

I found this on the Ifield and Ifield West Facebook page this evening. Sadly I have no idea who the author is, but maybe someone can enlighten me [James Phillips – Ed]. Lots of good information of which I was not aware and so might help to continue the fight. Sadly I must agree with his comment on our local parliamentary ‘representative’ – a misnomer if ever I heard one – as from the very beginning Jeremy Quinn has declined to become involved on behalf of his constituents.

Yours aye

George

JAMES PHILLIPS – Ifield And Ifield West Community [Facebook]

Deer in the Ancient Parish of Ifield [Photo provided by James Phillips]

“Levelling up” and other nonsensical ideas.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this major rant.
If you agree please send on to your local elected representatives, press, friends, maybe even relatives, if you don’t then welcome to the total(itarian) urbanisation of Crawsham
Subject: Strong Objection to development plan for “West of Ifield” and Rusper parish environmental vandalism
Good Afternoon All
We understand there is to be a meeting this afternoon at which the hated Homes England project to tear up the Ifield Golf course and replace it with 10,000 houses under the “West of Ifield” development moniker is to be debated and would like to register our most heartfelt objections to this act of environmental vandalism.
Horsham District Council (HDC) Planning Department and Cabinet group seem to be happy to completely ignore the democratic process and proper Planning Policy.
The site assessments for Rusper make no mention of the Rusper Neighbourhood Plan, despite it passing referendum with an overwhelming majority and having been adopted by HDC at full Council meeting.
The HDC site assessments provide information that is woefully lacking and blatantly incorrect. They mention a bi-weekly mobile library service in Rusper, which ceased to be provided by WSCC several years ago. They make no mention of the fact that the proposed sites, outside of the built area of Rusper village, are more than two miles from the nearest A road, B road, or regular bus service. They do not mention that strategic views from the village will be impacted by these developments.
The elected representatives on HDC seem to be completely cow-towing to the directives of central Conservative party diktats that are requiring huge numbers of unwanted and unjustified houses to be built on green-field land across the whole country, but predominantly in the South-East. This is completely at odds with the declared Climate Emergency and the need to focus development away from the South-East, which are both declared objectives of the current Government. It is also completely at odds with the 2011 Localism Act, which introduced the concept of Neighbourhood Plans and their influence in the Planning System.
The Rusper Neighbourhood Plan considered most of the sites that are now being proposed for adoption and rejected them, overwhelmingly. The rejections were based on valid planning principles laid out in the National Planning Policy Framework and the current Horsham District Planning Framework. The Rusper Neighbourhood Plan was reviewed by the Planning Inspector, only last year, and he agreed that the plan was sound and conformed to current planning law. Horsham District Council only adopted this plan a few months ago and have since wilfully ignored its recommendations. The Rusper Neighbourhood Plan group spent years working with the community to develop a plan which met the long term needs and aspirations of the local community, reviewing and refining the plan at various stages to reflect the input from the people who live in the area. At all stages the plan was measured against national planning guidance and local Horsham planning guidance to ensure compliance.
It now seems that all of that time and effort was wasted as our own local HDC Planning Department and our elected HDC Councillors are now proposing that everything in the Rusper Neighbourhood Plan is ignored and that they will develop across Rusper parish regardless of local needs and desires.
Horsham District Council once again is adopting a developer led approach to planning. Rather than working up from the Neighbourhood Plan and its recommendations, it is working down from Homes England’s development proposals and unrealistic central government targets for housing numbers. They are selling out our environment and the quality of our lives to follow party diktat rather than the views of the local community.
HDC will try to explain that if they do not provide a plan with the housing numbers dictated by Westminster then it will be a free for all for developers and they will have no control over where development goes. This is a outright lie. What they mean is that they will lose out on the “Community Infrastructure Levy”, a cash fund from developers to soften the impact of their development on our lives.
The truth is that they are forfeiting some of the finest countryside and nature habitats across the District to avoid the difficulty of fighting for our environment and way of life. It is not a win if you give away your greatest treasures in order to stop someone stealing your trinkets.
HDC could put forward a new Local Plan that works from the 450 new homes a year, which was the carefully calculated local need established when the original HDPF (Local Plan) was drawn up just over 5 years ago, and accepts a need to help Crawley and other areas that have run out of land for housing by adding the original recommendation of 150 extra homes. That gives a target of 600 new homes a year for the period of this plan. It is reasonable to argue that given the Climate Emergency and lack of brown-field sites in the District, even this number is excessive. However, the current HDPF (Local Plan) has already identified sites that will meet well in excess of this and development has started on most of them.
It therefore seems that given the impact of the Covid pandemic on population, jobs ( the devastation of business at Gatwick airport which could take a decade to recover, if ever) and house prices, Horsham can reasonably argue that the current site allocations from the HDPF more than meet the needs for this new plan period through to 2035 and possibly beyond, depending on the rate of recovery from the recent financial slump.
Various government ministers have solidly supported that building on green fields is wrong. The Prime Minister and the Housing Minister have both stated that building on green field sites should be a last resort only under special circumstances. It now seems that the special circumstances are the ludicrous housing targets they are imposing on local councils and they need to be challenged on this. Our local MP the Rt Hon. Jeremy Quin has washed his hands of the matter entirely and claims he cannot get involved. Strange that, we wonder why he was elected in the first place?
We write in the hope that the weight of public opinion and objections to this unwanted, unnecessary development will be taken into consideration and acted upon

Thanks for reading this long message and please remember, if there’s no room for nature, there will be no nature. Is that what you truly want?

Photo by Robert Stass
Drawing by Jem Clarke

IFIELD AND IFIELD WEST COMMUNITY – FACEBOOK

Bel Helm

Huge thanks to everyone who came out to support! It would be amazing to get a bigger showing on the 28th!

Save West of Ifield!!!

May be an image of 1 person and outdoors

17 Comments

 

  • James Phillips

    Well done to all who made it today.

     

     

    Thomas Cockayne

    Richard Baker I’m guessing that’s why they time it for 5pm so most people are still at work….
     
     

    Richard Baker

    Sorry! I would of attended this unfortunately I don’t get home till 6ish most days
     

    Jen Dav

    I was working is there anymore of these?

     
     

    Bel Helm

    Jen Dav yes!!! 28th July is when the full council is voting. We need all the bodies we can get. The meeting is currently scheduled for 6pm so we’d need to be in place by 5.30pm…
     

    Jen Dav

    I will ask a few of my neighbours to come!

     

     

    Bel Helm

    Jen Dav please do!!!! Such an amazing place, we need to protect it 🙏
     
     

    Cathy Durrant

    Where is it on the 28th (July?) please?

    Bel Helm

    Cathy Durrant it is at Horsham Council building (Park View). Very close to the train station and registry office.
     

     

    2

     

    Cathy Durrant

    Bel Helm at 5 again?

     

    Bel Helm

    Cathy Durrant ideally yes… the meeting is at 6pm so we need to be in place by 5.30pm at the latest…

     

     

    Cathy Durrant

    Bel Helm ok thanks, will do my best to be there

     
     

    Bel Helm

    Cathy Durrant it is at Horsham Council building (Park View). Very close to the train station and registry office.
     

    Bel Helm

    Cathy Durrant brilliant 👏
     

    Cathy Durrant

    When my mum moved to rusper road in approx 1975, they were told that space would never be built on in case a plane had to make a crash landing and could not make it to the airport
     

    Bel Helm

    Cathy Durrant when Crawley New Town was built this area to the West of Ifield was meant to be our protected green space…. if this housing gets built we’ll be entirely hemmed in and surrounded by enormous roads…
     

    Russell Milton

    Brilliant, well done everyone. 👏 👏
     

    JULY 17 2021

    Dear Tony,

    West of Ifield

    Thank you for confirming that you note our points!!!

    We had understood from Liz Kitchen that you felt that West of Ifield was a totally unacceptable option and so I had hoped that you, at least, would have appeared at the Council meeting yesterday to represent the view that you represent.

    The 15th July Committee meeting would, I thought, have been considered to have been of major importance as it affected the appearance, history, infrastructure and the environment of all of the countryside from Rusper, to Faygate and to Ifield!

    It would have hoped, therefore, that you would have considered this meeting to have been of major importance for the future of our area!

    If you were not able to attend, we might have hoped that you would have made your views known in absentia.

    If not, where do we go to for democracy!!!

    Our case is unanswerable to anyone who listens!!!

    It would appear that Council’s view does not comply with Government dictac on Greenbelt development, it does not comply with Sustainability or Bio-Diversity constraints, it does not comply with loss of an historical, 100 year old, thriving sporting facility, it does not comply with the impossible effects on an already straining local road network, it does not comply with an already surcharged medical infrastructure.

    WHAT ON EARTH DOES IT COMPLY WITH??

    If you are in agreement with our unanswerable argument, please let me know how we should proceed from here!

    Otherwise, if you agree with the committee’s grotesque travesty of a democratic decision, please let me know so that we can take our reasoned argument elsewhere!

    Kind regards,

    Malcolm Bender

    Pinewood, Rusper Road,

    Ifield,