Draft Horsham District Local Plan 2019-2036

Comment ID /5003
Document Section Draft Horsham District Local Plan 2019-2036 Introduction The Horsham District Local Plan 2019-2036 View all on this section
Respondent Rusper Parish Council (Mrs Lea… View all by this respondent
Response Date 30 Mar 2020
What is the nature of this comment?
  • Object
Summary
In summary, the plan is flawed as it fails to clearly identify the inevitable environmental impact that the increased housing numbers across strategic green field sites will cause.
It fails to challenge conflicting government policies and identify the consequences of these to the local population in terms of their environment and health.
Comment

The words “growth” and “sustainable” are used throughout the document for all aspects of the plan
including housing, employment, and biodiversity. Yet it still insists that environmental needs will be
met and prioritised. It seems that there has been a failure to realise the real facts and use basic logic
when creating this document. There is a finite amount of land in the district and all of these things
cannot grow without consequential environmental impact.
Its fundamental objectives are unattainable in any real scenario and the plan fails to identify which
aspects will be sacrificed when these real world constraints are applied.
We have some sympathy with Horsham District Council's position, as it is based on unachievable
and conflicting government policies and a central government taking more control of local matters,
especially housing numbers.
The document emphasises “growth” throughout, but this is obviously unattainable for all areas of
the plan as the actual land area for the plan has actually been reduced by the establishment of the
South Downs National Park, whose own plan now covers part of the area covered by earlier
Horsham District plans.
All assertions for growth should be based on three main factors:
1. The ability of the environment to accommodate and support the growth
2. Likely predictions for investment and economic growth
3. Likely predictions for population growth
This plan fails on all three counts. Again we sympathise with Horsham District Council, as national
government has failed to identify these factors and has imposed unachievable objectives on the
planning authority.
However, that is no excuse to produce a plan that fails to clarify the consequences of government
targets. Local communities need to to be clear that the environment is being sacrificed to meet
unrealistic government housing and economic growth figures. At least then they will know what
they are actually voting for and not this veil of policies that suggest that everything is possible. It is
dishonest to imply that the environment can be protected, let alone enhanced, in these
circumstances.
Two primary factors have been neglected in this plan:
The first is the global environmental emergency, which the UK government formally recognised in
May 2019. This should focus attention on protecting all green field land and ensuring it remains
green for agricultural, forestry, recreation or the natural ecology. Any additional housing need must
be met by brownfield development, or intensification of already allocated sites.
The second critical factor is one that could not have been predicted, at least not against any
timescale, and this is the Coronavirus pandemic. This has led to a catastrophic economic collapse,
greater than anything we have seen in a generation. It throws all previous economic growth assumptions out of the window. Its impact on death rates is still to be seen, but a significant reduction in elderly population figures is highly likely.
Finally, as with previous plans, this is a development led document and not a plan led proposal. The plan should first identify how the overall infrastructure needs such as basic services, schools, hospitals, doctors surgeries, public transport etc. will be met. Those should be scheduled and in place before development starts. The build it and they will come approach in this plan is wholly inadequate for what is supposed to be an advanced society.
Summary
In summary, the plan is flawed as it fails to clearly identify the inevitable environmental impact that the increased housing numbers across strategic green field sites will cause.
It fails to challenge conflicting government policies and identify the consequences of these to the local population in terms of their environment and health.

Proposed Change
Attachments