MP backs local community against new town proposal

More than 200 people packed into West Chiltington Village Hall on Monday evening (26 October) to object to proposals for a new town of 4,000 houses between North Heath and Adversane.

The greenfield site, much of which falls within the parish of West Chiltington, has been earmarked for housing in Horsham District Council's Core Strategy consultation document, drawn up in response to the Government's demand for 13,000 new houses in the district by 2026.

Mr Herbert was unable to attend due to his Parliamentary commitments, but sent the following message of support which was read out at the meeting:

"I am sorry that I am unable to attend tonight's meeting as the Commons is sitting until 10pm and MPs will be debating the Marine Bill which is part of my brief as Shadow Environment Secretary.  I would, however, like to give my strong support to the local community who are objecting to the proposal to build a new town of 4,000 houses between North Heath and Adversane.

"I have recently visited the site and was appalled at the prospect of a development that would destroy such a beautiful area of countryside.  I do not believe this area has the infrastructure to support development on the scale proposed and it will not help with the lack of affordable housing in our villages.

"I am submitting my own formal response to Horsham District Council as part of the Core Strategy Review consultation.  I will also be meeting with the Chief Executive and Chairman of Horsham District Council in the next few weeks in order to represent the concerns of my constituents.

"In my view, the level of house-building that the Government is demanding for West Sussex is completely unsustainable and unrealistic - adding 74,600 houses over the next 20 years and increasing the County's population by a quarter.

"A Conservative Government will scrap the top-down housing targets and the Regional Spatial Strategies that drive them, so that local councils are not forced to find sites for housing, which is the position Horsham District Council finds itself in.

"In the meantime we must do all that we can to win the argument that building a new town is not the way to meet housing need in our villages.

"I want to assure you that I will continue to support the campaign until we see this proposal off."

Christopher N Howarth