Horsham in a strong position to meet future growth challenges

HDPF matches new homes and jobs

Horsham is better placed to meet future growth challenges than many other local authorities in England, thanks to a balanced approach to land use planning in its new Local Plan – the Horsham District Planning Framework (HDPF).

A recent study by planning experts Turley has found that half of councils in England are adopting a flawed approach to land use planning that fails to provide a balance of new homes and jobs.  With the housing crisis dominating headlines, Turley argue that some authorities have lost sight of the need to build strong local economies – a fundamental requirement of government policy in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Crucially, and in contrast to the main criticism of the Turley report, Horsham District Council’s growth plan meets the requirements of the NPPF, matching new homes with significant employment opportunities, associated infrastructure and facilities, and providing a solid foundation for the future success of the district and its economy.

The HDPF – the blueprint for development in the district up to 2031 – was recently declared ‘sound’ by an independent Planning Inspector and is set to be formally adopted by Horsham District Council as planning policy in the coming weeks, laying the foundations for the delivery of significant benefits for the local community and putting Horsham at a distinct advantage compared with other areas.

As well as signing off the HDPF, the Inspector also reached very positive conclusions about North of Horsham, which he declared ‘sound’ and “one of the most sustainable locations” – fully justifying the District Council’s decision to support it as the major new housing and employment allocation in the HDPF.  Developer, Liberty Property Trust is pushing ahead with its plans for a sustainable, mixed-use new community on the 600-plus acre site to the north of the town that will help Horsham to become a key driver for economic growth in the region.

Commenting on the Turley research, Andrew Blevins, Managing Director of Liberty said:

“Matching new homes with jobs and infrastructure is vital to supporting a successful economy.  Recently, businesses have been reluctant to invest or locate in Horsham due to a critical shortage of new, quality office space in the right location.  We are already talking to businesses that want to relocate to Horsham and our plans for a new business park will provide modern, high-quality, flexible and energy efficient office space that allows them to take advantage of the area’s excellent strategic location.”

Welcoming the Planning Inspector’s decision, Andrew Blevins said:

“This is an important step in the process and provides a positive context for the submission of our planning application.

“In anticipation of this outcome, our team has been working hard to pull the planning application together during the course of this year and we have been in detailed discussions with the District Council, West Sussex County Council, the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and a number of other authorities as key stakeholders.  This is taking longer than originally planned but it is, without doubt, the correct thing to do.

“Getting the planning application right will mean that it addresses all of the factors relevant to development at North of Horsham, so that a fully informed decision can be taken.  It also means that North of Horsham is able to deliver the best possible benefits for the community and has the necessary infrastructure in place at the right time.”

In line with the HDPF allocation, the proposed new community at North of Horsham would:

  • Provide at least 2,500 new homes to meet a range of local needs across the whole housing market
  • Deliver 500,000 sq ft of high-quality business space with the potential to create 3,500-4,000 jobs and support the future economic success of the district
  • Fund major investment in local roads, public transport and walking / cycling infrastructure to support growth at North of Horsham and deliver improvements for the existing community
  • Create a wider customer base and increased footfall for shops and businesses in the town centre and beyond
  • Provide land and funding for new schools, health and community facilities to provide for the needs of the development and the wider area
  • Make 240 acres of green space open to the public, with nature and heritage trails providing access to a new nature park, local woods and other features of interest
  • Deliver better access to sports and recreation opportunities, with high-quality new facilities for a range of interests and sports

Once Liberty has submitted its application, Horsham District Council will undertake its own statutory consultation, giving the local community the opportunity to provide further feedback on the plans.  Liberty will continue to engage with the community during this process and the North of Horsham website (www.landnorthofhorsham.co.uk) will be updated to reflect the application and any updates.