In January, Horsham District Council (HDC) sprung a surprise plan to develop up to 1100 houses all around Warnham Nature Reserve including Rookwood Golf Course.
A presentation was unexpectedly arranged on 9 January just for Trafalgar and Holbrook West Councillors. District Councillor CHRISTINE COSTIN, a local representative of 25 years standing says ‘Out of the blue, without warning, detailed plans were shown for housing development across Rookwood Golf Course which is currently a popular municipal leisure facility plus housing around the thriving Warnham Local Nature Reserve, both of which are Award Winning environmental flagships. Those plans must have been in preparation for a very long time. The Council should be safeguarding not sacrificing our precious leisure facilities and the local natural environment. We owe it to local residents and future generations to protect these areas’.
CHRISTINE continued ‘Even to think about construction in such a sensitive area will be considered by most local people as short sighted and reckless. Risks to wildlife and of flooding would be compounded. Many homes in REDFORD AVENUE, MERRYFIELD DRIVE, COOTES AVENUE, and IRWIN DRIVE along with blackspots such as FARTHINGS BRIDGE, GUILDFORD ROAD have already experienced flooding. Wildlife currently interacts between Warnham Nature Reserve, the Red River and the lake on the Golf Course. HDC has recently taken the encouraging step of forming a partnership with the Sussex Wildlife Trust and has been championing rewilding and Climate Change initiatives. The urbanisation of this local area would certainly be contrary to those aspirations’.
County Councillor NIGEL DENNIS added ‘With major development already underway in North Horsham and Broadbridge Heath it becomes even more crucial that we keep the ‘green lungs’ in mature parts of the town that have made Horsham a pleasant place to live and work. Although the number of people playing golf may be falling, the closure of private courses in the area provides an opportunity for HDC to attract displaced demand to Rookwood’.
HDC is required to provide a Local Plan that meets the Government's demands for future growth so options for meeting housing demands are collected and go out for a six-week consultation (closing 30 March). It is important that residents respond to this: https://www.horsham.gov.uk/planning/local-plan/have-your-say
CHRISTINE said ‘The option for our area has only just emerged whereas others have been discussed openly over a period of time. Fairness seems to have gone out of the window. As we know, Horsham Town is disadvantaged because it is all too easy for its representatives to be outvoted by the large number of members from the rural areas at HDC. Your Local Councillors will challenge this option and hope for public support’.