North Heath & Adversane
Today is the last day of a public consultation on Horsham District Council's Core Strategy and I have just submitted my formal response.
Two weeks ago, I stood on a hill overlooking the site of a proposed new town of 4,000 houses between North Heath and Adversane.
I was appalled at the prospect of a development that would destroy such a beautiful area of countryside. And so, when I held a meeting with members of STAND (Stop The Adversane North Heath Development), I had no hesitation in offering my full support to their campaign.
I have some sympathy for Horsham District Council who are being forced to accommodate 13,000 new houses over the next two decades, its share of 74,600 houses for West Sussex - a ludicrous number that will increase West Sussex's population by a quarter.
We all know that more affordable local homes are needed. There are many young people in particular who are struggling to get their foot on the housing ladder. They are forced to leave the village where they grew up, and that's a shame and a loss to the community.
But building a massive new town wouldn't help the lack of affordable housing in our villages. We simply don't have the infrastructure to support development on the scale proposed. And much of it will be on green field land.
It's wrong that the Government is dictating to local authorities how many houses to build. That's why the Conservatives are committed to scrapping the national targets and the Regional Spatial Strategies that drive them.
Instead of telling councils what to do, we will let local communities decide what level of development is right for them and offer proper incentives to build the local homes that are needed.
But that change will depend on the General Election next year. In the meantime, the District Council's housing consultation continues. So please make sure your voice is heard by responding as soon as possible.