WITH CONCERN GROWING AT THE LACK OF CLARITY BY HORSHAM DISTRICT COUNCIL’S LEADERSHIP REGARDING THE LARGE SCALE STRATEGIC SITE PROPOSED AT WEST OF IFIELD, THE BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF IFIELD RESUMES WITH A WALK TO IFIELD GOLF COURSE TOMORROW [SATURDAY DECEMBER 11 – 11AM FROM THE PLOUGH – RETURN BY 1PM]
FROM CLLR TONY HOGBEN – DEPUTY LEADER OF HORSHAM DISTRICT COUNCIL – EMAIL 5/12/2021
This is comments the new leader made when taking over, I am pleased to remain party of the team having been appointed deputy leader.
On Friday 3rd December 2021 Councillor Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead) was unanimously elected as the new leader of Horsham District Council.
Commenting on his election, Councillor Chowen said:
“It is an honour and a privilege and I am delighted to have been elected as Leader of the Council. I am looking forward to tackling the challenges facing our District and the priorities of our residents. ”
“Our District is consistently recognised as one of the best places to live in England and only last week Horsham was quoted in the top twenty.
“I want to protect and enhance Horsham town, our historic villages and beautiful countryside – not build all over it with imposed housing numbers, that ignore the needs of our residents.
“I will work with both of our Members of Parliament and to quote Michael Gove, to achieve “a fairer and more equitable housing need” and that “current assumptions are probably out of date”.
On the paused ‘Local Plan’ review Councillor Chowen said:
“The old plan had large scale house building across the district on greenfield sites, which would have put unbearable strain on our infrastructure, schools and hospitals, clogging up our roads and lanes for decades. It was not acceptable to our residents and it was not acceptable to me or the Council that I will lead.
“We have recently been presented with a unique opportunity by Natural England’s position statement on water neutrality, which gives us the chance to change the government’s current housing strategy. This pauses all housing development in the District until a plan can be devised to mitigate the issues of our water supply from Southern Water’s abstraction site at Hardham, near Pulborough. Our consultants have already determined that there are currently no feasible options to achieve 100% water neutrality. However, it is highly likely this will be tested and challenged by vested interests.
“The water neutrality issue is an opportunity to allow us to reset and lower our housing numbers from the current outdated high government targets, recalculate the methodology in line with Michael Gove’s new government thinking on housing, the recently enacted Environment Bill and new evidence of water stress.
Large scale housing developments will be much more problematic and not feasible until there is substantial investment in large scale mitigating infrastructure, which could take years.
Therefore the need or likely hood of large scale strategic sites such as those proposed at Adversane – Mayfield – Rookwood – Buck Barn or 1200 houses a year now looks very unlikely [West of Ifield not listed – Ed].
“Using our current plan as a starting point, we will work very closely with the local communities, and the Parish and Neighbourhood Councils. Our focus will be to address their local housing needs, aspirations and priorities. We must ensure that the housing we do deliver is high quality, eco-friendly in design and we must prioritise brownfield sites where possible.
“Also, we will need to consider the real world impact of planning delays to businesses and individuals, its social impact on investment, affordable homes, schools and recovery from the pandemic.
“We have to let our communities live, grow, thrive and evolve, otherwise they become moribund and unsustainable. We need the energy and enthusiasm of children and young people and the experience and wisdom of those in their later years. This will help to build diverse and sustainable communities.
“We also need thriving businesses, a strong rural economy, more home-working and encouragement for our young people to live and work in the District. This will help to preserve and enhance our way of life, culture, heritage, our environment and its wildlife.
“That is why the Council will be making a substantial further investment of £1million in our environment, achieving carbon neutrality and climate change initiatives.
“My team and Horsham District Council are committed and determined to meet the challenges that we face, on behalf of our residents and the generations to come.”
DECEMBER 8 2021 – CRAWLEY OBSERVER – LETTERS
Incoming Horsham District Council Leader Cllr Jonathan Chowen asserts:
“Therefore the need or likelihood of large scale strategic sites such as those proposed at Adversane, Mayfield, Rookwood, Buck Barn, or 1200 houses a year, now looks very unlikely”
And – of course – the large scale strategic site of 10,000 houses proposed at West of Ifield, Cllr Chowen?
Richard W. Symonds