FEBRUARY 14 2024 – RUSPER PARISH COUNCIL RAISES SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT THE VIABILITY OF HORSHAM’S LOCAL PLAN – ESPECIALLY POLICY HA2 – WEST OF IFIELD [AKA EAST OF RUSPER]

RUSPER PARISH COUNCIL RAISES SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT THE VIABILITY OF HORSHAM’S LOCAL PLAN – ESPECIALLY POLICY HA2 – WEST OF IFIELD [AKA EAST OF RUSPER]

EXTRA COUNCIL MEETING OF RUSPER PARISH COUNCIL HELD ON TUESDAY FEBRUARY 13 2024 AT 7.30PM IN RUSPER VILLAGE HALL

QUESTIONS TO CLLR JOHN MILNE [HDC DEPUTY LEADER AND CABINET MEMBER FOR PLANNING AND INFRASTRUCTURE] FROM RUSPER PARISH COUNCILLORS [AGENDA ITEM 6.2]:

1. We note a general disregard for Rusper Parish within the Plan [and Ifield Parish – Ed]. Policy HA 15 – Rusper is inadequate and less developed than those for other areas. There is a distinct lack of mention of any cooperation with Mole Valley District Council, or concern about effects of the Plan on the River Mole [and Bewbush Brook, the Millpond and Ifield Brook which flow into the River Mole – Ed]. What is Horsham District Council’s response to this charge?

2. What is Horsham District Council’s 30-year vision and where can it be found in the Plan?

3. The highly concentrated allocation of housing provision (80% of strategic sites) to Rusper Parish and its immediate vicinity [eg Ifield Parish – Ed] is not acknowledged or given attention in the Reg 19 Local Plan. Could we have your comments about the implications of the concentration?

4. The Reg 19 LP [Local Plan] disregards Rusper’s ‘made’ Neighbourhood Plan. Could we have your comments on why or whether this can be rectified?

5. How is the Plan sustainable given the excessive rate of population growth the Plan will deliver, and the medium to long term lack of water supply and waste-water treatment capacity?

Can Horsham District Council please provide evidence that Horsham District Council and Homes England are putting plans in place with Thames Water for increased wastewater treatment capacity for the West of Ifield, and with Southern Water for medium to long term water supply for the district as a whole? 

Transport and Traffic

6. We don’t believe that Horsham councillors made decisions with full information about the impacts of the West of Ifield on transport infrastructure and traffic in Rusper and Crawley.

To what extent did Councillors discuss the assumptions in the transport modelling about how active travel will supposedly reduce car use?

To what extent does the modelling take into account [the] cumulative effect of Kilnwood Vale and North Horsham as well as West of Ifield?

Western Relief Road. The latest plan seems to have dropped any proposals for the 10,000 home extension to the initial West of Ifield phase [3,000 – Ed]. Does this mean that the concept of a western relief road has also been dropped? If so, has this been taken into account with all of the traffic modelling?

7. Why is Horsham District Council building an urban extension to Crawley when Crawley neither wants or needs it?

8. The Plan contradicts itself in terms of whether West of Ifield is helping with Crawley’s unmet housing need – on the one hand it suggests it’s not because of water neutrality constraints (10.12), but elsewhere suggests it is helping (10.38), presumably because it serves Horsham District Council’s narrative to justify building West of Ifield. Can Horsham District Council please explain this apparent contradiction?

9. What does Crawley Borough Council’s opposition to West of Ifield mean to the Duty to Cooperate and Statement of Common Grounds?

10. Several experts are noting a lack of evidence, data and detail to support the Plan – for example, there is no detail on the proposed mitigation to address the adverse landscape and visual impact…on the proposed West of Ifield development. Is Horsham District Council confident that the plan has been prepared on a sufficiently sound evidence base? Why is the evidence base thin compared to other Local Authorities?

11. We’re concerned that many of the key policies in the Plan are weak and so present a very low bar for developers to clear. Plus, there is insufficient evidence to support the policies in the first place.

For example, Policy 17 – Biodiversity and Greenspace. Sussex Wildlife Trust said in 2020 that the whole Local Plan should not go forward[s] due to the lack of ecological data to base allocation decisions on. Nothing has changed since then.

How can the Sustainability Appraisal have been done without these data, and how will anything meaningful be done in terms of Biodiversity Net Gain without baseline data?

Homes England’s Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] Scoping Request showed that they do not intend to survey areas such as Ifield Brook Meadows Local Wildlife Site-LWS [ie a designated Local Green Space-LGS…one step down from a Local Nature Reserve-LNR as in the neighbouring Willoughby Fields Local Nature Reserve-LNR – Ed] and Hyde Hill Woods Local Wildlife Site-LWS [ancient woodland] – both of which run alongside the most densely built parts of the West of Ifield site.

12. The Ifield golf course is a valued recreational facility within the locality. Could we have information about the Council’s decision on Homes England providing an alternative facility?

13. Can you please explain your Policy 9 Paragraph 1 in the local plan concerning Water Neutrality, whereby new residential properties are to utilise no more than 85 litres per person per day? How was this figure calculated and how and who will enforce this?

14. You have agreed that 50% of the proposed affordable homes in West of Ifield will be allocated to Crawley to reduce their housing list, as Crawley does not have the space to build properties for its growing population. Are Crawley Borough Council funding the 50% of costs of these affordable homes and infrastructure that will be required?

 

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CATHY DURRANT QUESTION TO CLLR JOHN MILNE

 

RWS QUESTION TO LIBERAL DEMOCRAT COUNCILLOR JOHN MILNE [DENNE] – HORSHAM DISTRICT COUNCIL DEPUTY LEADER AND CABINET MEMBER FOR PLANNING AND INFRASTRUCTURE

“Cllr Milne, your Party appears to have inherited a deeply flawed Local Plan regarding the West of Ifield [aka the East of Rusper]. Will you now be asking the Planning Inspectorate to recommend main modifications, so as to make your Plan sound, legally compliant and not in breach of the Duty to Cooperate?”

 

 

FEBRUARY 14 2024 – ‘FIGHT IS ON TO SAVE PARISH’ – CRAWLEY OBSERVER – LETTERS + EXTRA COUNCIL MEETING OF RUSPER PARISH COUNCIL – RUSPER VILLAGE HALL – FEBRUARY 13 2024 AT 7.30PM

 

“The only way to stop the bulldozer is to stop the bully”

Richard W. Symonds – The Ifield Society