Decision not to build new school near Horsham 'beyond unacceptable'

The decision not to build a school at Wickhurst Green has been described as ‘beyond unacceptable’ by a Horsham councillor.

Ms Potter (Lib Dem, Broadbridge Heath) said: “Local residents have been let down time and again over Wickhurst Green.

“The doctors’ surgery was never built, and there’s been continuous disruption from a badly planned road system.

Aerial view of Wickhurst Green development south of Broadbridge Heath (Google Maps)

“Unbelievably, parts of the development are still not complete all these years later.

“Now we are told there is to be no new school either. This is beyond unacceptable.”

A Section 106 legal agreement between the county council and Countryside Homes expires next month.

A council spokesman confirmed that the land would be handed back to the developer for free.

The news won’t sit well with Lib Dems, who have called on the county council and Horsham District Council to work together to ‘secure control over the Wickhurst Green site before the deadline runs out’.

A spokesman added: “The land must be kept safe for local residents until either a new school or other community use can be found.”

A petition called Save Wickhurst Green School has been signed by more than 380 people.

Matt Allen (Lib Dem, Broadbridge Heath) said: “This is land that was set aside many years ago to be a vital community space as our village grew.

“Unnecessary delays mean that we now risk seeing that land revert back to the developer at great loss to residents.

“This must be stopped.”

Once the land is handed back, though, it will be up to Countryside to decide how it will be used.

A spokesman for Horsham District Council said: “Once the option for West Sussex County Council as the education authority to take ownership of the school site expires next month, the land will remain with the landowner free from restriction.

“Any alternative use of the land will require planning permission and any planning application submitted by the landowner will be considered by the Horsham District Council in consultation with the local community. “