The Covid-19 crisis is profoundly affecting every part of our lives, and our first concern must be everyone’s health and well-being. However, other vital local issues are still going ahead, and none is more important than the Local Plan Public Consultation (concluding March 30th).
The Local Plan outlines all the proposed housing developments across our district. They are truly massive in scale, and could result in 27,000 more houses being built in Horsham District alone, plus more in Crawley and Arundel and the South Downs.
It’s clear the public consultation process has collapsed. A number of public meetings and a protest march have already been cancelled. The online consultation exercise is also likely to be forgotten about in the urgency of health concerns.
This is not the way to give proper scrutiny and public consent to the single biggest change in our environment in our history.
In the light of these difficulties, we would like you to join us in requesting a postponement to the process. These are not appropriate conditions under which to make such important commitments.
It’s inevitable that the crisis is going to have a major impact in the future. A full-scale recession is all but certain. This will reduce housing demand and quite possibly lead to a significant fall in house prices. This would mean a big reduction in our target, which might remove the need for one or more of the largest developments.
How can you make a difference?
- Make sure you respond to the Local Plan consultation before March 30th at https://www.horsham.gov.uk/planning/local-plan/have-your-say It’s very user- unfriendly, but it’s all we’ve got!
- Email your Council Chief Executive Officer to request a delay in the process. Choose the Council area you live in:
For Horsham, Arundel and the South Downs: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Crawley: email@example.com
Simply say that you believe it’s impossible to have a proper public consultation under these conditions. We have to act now or we will lose democratic control over this hugely important process.