New concerns over impact of Horsham area housing development on wildlife and nature

Conservationists are expressing new concerns over the impact of proposed housing developments on wildlife and nature in the Horsham area.

The Sussex Wildlife Trust says it is ‘very concerned’ about the amount of housing proposed in Horsham’s draft Local Plan.

Council officers are recommending the go-ahead is given for thousands of new houses at Buck Barn and on land west of Ifield, along with sites in Southwater and Billingshurst.

The full council is to consider the recommendations at a meeting on July 28.

A group of longhorn cattle on the estate. Photo: Charlie Burrell

Meanwhile, in a statement, Sussex Wildlife Trust said: “We understand that the council is under a lot of pressure to deliver the number of houses set out by Government policy, however this must be within environmental limits, and in line with the National Planning Policy Framework, which is clear on the role of wildlife, connectivity, corridors and local strategies and plans for these.”

A ‘Nature Recovery Network Map’ for the district has been drawn up by the council and the Wildlife Trust says it shows that the Buck Barn land and Ifield land “are both developments proposed in areas also identified for Nature’s Recovery.

“The Knepp Estate (near Buck Barn) provides the largest core area for wildlife in the district, and as such the nature corridors leading from it are fundamental to the role of Knepp within the wider Nature Recovery Network.”

The trust says it is now looking in detail at “how the council are justifying the selection of strategic sites chosen, what impact it thinks this will have and what is being proposed to avoid and mitigate this impact.”

The Knepp Estate is world renowned following its successful rewilding project.