Concerns over 'secret plans' to build new town in the Horsham district

Concerns are being raised over ‘secret plans’ to build a new town in the Horsham district.
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They are being voiced by Horsham MP Sir Jeremy Quin and South Downs MP Andrew Griffith.

Their concerns have been sparked following an announcement by Horsham District Council’s cabinet member for planning that the council was considering applying to establish a ‘Green Belt’ in the area.

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The MPs say that the National Planning Policy Framework stipulates that Green Belts can only be established in exceptional circumstances such as when planning larger scale development like ‘new settlements or major urban extensions.’ They say the framework does not set out any other circumstances under which a Green Belt could be implemented.

Are there 'secret plans' to build a new town within the Horsham district?Are there 'secret plans' to build a new town within the Horsham district?
Are there 'secret plans' to build a new town within the Horsham district?

Andrew Griffith said: “The National Planning Policy Framework is clear: new Green Belts can only be implemented in exceptional circumstances. Local residents are already frustrated with the Horsham Lib Dems’ plans to build on green fields and trample over existing neighbourhood plans, so I am very concerned at the revelation that they may have secret plans for an additional ‘new town’ – which is the only time new green belts are ever created.”

Sir Jeremy added: “Of course we would welcome the standalone establishment of a Green Belt locally, as would a great many communities elsewhere. However that does not appear possible without it being established around a new town or huge urban extension.

"Either this was a throw-away remark made by the deputy leader of the council in a public meeting, not expecting it to be picked up or, as now appears possible, there are plans being explored for a major new settlement of which residents are not aware.”