Protesters have expressed delight over a delay in finalising Horsham’s district Local Plan – which would see thousands of new houses built in the area.
Local councillors were due to debate the plan at a meeting last night, but it was postponed at the last minute.
However, protesters were determined to show their opposition and turned out in force with placards outside Horsham District Council’s offices.
And many took to West Sussex County Times’ Facebook page to vent their views. They are opposed to large-scale developments on greenfield sites at Buck Barn, Billingshurst, Southwater and land west of Ifield – among others.
Protesters gather outside Horsham District Council offices – despite a meeting about the Local Plan being cancelled at the last minute
Rosalie Radburn said: “Let’s hope it’s a permanent ‘delay’. The clock is at 11.59 for nature. Please, let’s preserve the little that’s left to give rural West Sussex a chance.
“To build a town near Knepp Castle (at Buck Barn) would be absolutely disgusting and heartbreaking for nature and for those of us that love spending time in it.”
Sue Hutchins added: “Leave the green land green and stop interrupting people’s lives.”
David Wenzel said: “The council have paused because the new National Planning Framework requires a plan for 30 years and introduces new requirements.
Protesters outside Horsham District Council offices
“One of the key requirements is a presumption in favour of sustainable development. It goes further to describe how land use needs to favour brownfield vs greenfield development and that plans need to consider greenhouse gas emissions.
“Buck Barn and most of the sites added to their current plan are building on productive agricultural land. Land which today is absorbing carbon and providing habitats.
“Building thousands of homes will involve a significant release of carbon during construction and building on green fields will reduce the carbon sink capacity of the district adding to net emissions even if the homes are ‘green’ and cars electric.
“In short the council needs to stop and develop a strategic plan for the county and district. How about building a new hospital and police station on brownfield land and redeveloping the whole area from The Pavilions (in Horsham) to the current hospital into apartments and town houses.”
Tom Phillips said: “At some point, we’re going to run out of wilderness to develop on – what will we do when people need homes then?
“I’d like to think we could find out that solution before we lose all the green.”
Wendy Linfield added: “Good news for the local wildlife. They deserve our protection from the destruction of their habitat. Protect green spaces and use brownfield sites.”
Ian Evans said: “All the council need to do is return the 30 year plan with ZERO DEVELOPMENT written on it. It’s up to the government to relocate businesses and development to the midlands and north of the country where jobs are wanted and there is plenty of land to develop.
“We have reached saturation point in the south.”
But Jade Cation cautioned: “This shouldn’t be taken as good news. A local plan is needed to control the build and stop a free for all. It does not mean no building, it could mean building with no plan.”