Councillor ‘horrified’ by idea of 500 houses

S01551H13 The flood plains to the north of Steyning
S01551H13 The flood plains to the north of Steyning

A PARISH councillor has expressed his horror at the idea of 500 new houses being built in the area, as suggested by a group of seven Horsham district councillors.

The suggestion came in a document put together by Lib Dem councillors in response to Horsham District Council’s draft preferred housing strategy, which was published in August 2013 and included proposals for 2,500 homes and a new business park north of Horsham.

The alternative document, sent to parish councillors last week, suggests building 500 houses across Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding, to limit the number needed in Horsham.

Steyning parish councillor David Barling said: “I am quite horrified by the thought of 500 houses in our area.

“There is no reference to sites specifically but there are not sites, except on the flood plain. I would strongly resist building on the flood plain at all.

“This has been done without any consultation with the parish council, who will know nothing about it.

“It has been very cogently put together. Some thought has been put into it but not enough as far as I am concerned.

“No thought whatsoever has been given to where these houses will be built.”

The Lib Dem district councillors, who represent Horsham Town and Broadbridge Heath, said they had been ‘dismayed’ by the council’s ‘undemocratic’ housing proposals, so they put together their own alternative strategy.

While they accept the total number of houses put forward, they want to spread development more evenly throughout the district.

They sugggest over the 20-year period, Horsham should take 1,500 homes, small towns and larger villages 500 each, medium villages 100, smaller villages 40, and unclassified settlements 20 each.

One of the group, Cllr David Skipp, said: “We are part of the same district and everyone is responsible and everyone has to take the pain and we all have to take it, not just Horsham.

“This is a proper, thought-out option, put together without officer time and help, and I think we deserve to have this taken seriously.”

The document does not pinpoint where in Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding the houses could be built.