Fears over plans for 'secret new town' quashed by Horsham councillor

Fears that a ‘secret new town’ is being planned in the Horsham district are being quashed by a leading local councillor – and have spiralled into a political row.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Concerns over ‘secret plans’ for a major development were first voiced by Horsham MP Sir Jeremy Quin and South Downs MP Andrew Griffith. They spoke out 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.

The MPs maintain 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.’

Fears over plans for a 'secret new town' in the Horsham area are being quashed by a local councillorFears over plans for a 'secret new town' in the Horsham area are being quashed by a local councillor
Fears over plans for a 'secret new town' in the Horsham area are being quashed by a local councillor
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But now the council’s Lib Dem cabinet member for planning John Milne says: “Claims by local MPs Jeremy Quin and Andrew Griffith that ‘a secret new town’ is being planned between Crawley and Horsham are wholly untrue.

"There was previously a plan to build 10,000 houses here – but it came from the Tories, not the Lib Dems.”

He added: “We need to protect the green gap between Horsham and Crawley. The long-standing Tory plan for 10k houses here, which has always received the support of Jeremy Quin, would surely lead to a full scale merger of the two towns. Applying for greenbelt status is an ideal way to eliminate this risk.”

In a statement, the Lib Dems add: “For many years Horsham District Council Conservatives supported by Jeremy Quin have targeted 10k new houses between Horsham and Crawley at the site known as West of Ifield. This would have extended all the way to Faygate Lane and would have halved the green gap between the two settlements, making an eventual merger almost certain.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“In the new Lib Dem version of the Local Plan approved at HDC Full Council last December, this figure will be cut to just 3k to meet Crawley’s growing needs. The new housing will be built to the north west of Crawley, away from Horsham, and therefore will not affect the green gap.

“However, there is always the risk that a Conservative administration might regain control of HDC in the future. So to lock off any possibility of a ‘Crawsham’ the Lib Dems are seeking to obtain greenbelt status for the area between the two towns.”