Plans for 1,500 new homes on farmland near Horsham move step closer

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Plans to build up to 1,500 new houses on farmland near Horsham have moved a step further forward.

Developers Berkeley Homes have now submitted a formal planning application to Horsham District Council for the development of the land north west of Southwater.

As well as the 1,500 houses, the company proposes to build a nursery, primary and secondary schools, sports and leisure facilities, a community hub, shops and five gypsy and traveller pitches. It says it will also earmark land for business use.

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In a report to the council, Berkeley Homes says: “Southwater does not currently have its own secondary school and the provision of one through this

Developers Berkeley Homes want to build 1,500 new homes, schools and sports facilities on farmland at Southwater near HorshamDevelopers Berkeley Homes want to build 1,500 new homes, schools and sports facilities on farmland at Southwater near Horsham
Developers Berkeley Homes want to build 1,500 new homes, schools and sports facilities on farmland at Southwater near Horsham

development will be a significant benefit in terms of education provision and in reducing the reliance on private car use as pupils will be able to safely walk and cycle to school.”

The company also plans road improvements to include a new link road between the development and Hop Oast Roundabout, improvements to junctions on the A24 and a link for pedestrians and cyclists between Southwater and Horsham.

The development is earmarked on a 317-acre site which is currently farmland with trees, hedgerows and woodland. Berkeley Homes says that hedgerows and trees would be retained ‘wherever possible.’

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Ancient woodlands at Courtland Wood and Smith’s Copse are designated as Sites of Importance for Nature and, says the company, would be safeguarded to form part of a woodland corridor.

It says that the proposed houses would make ‘a significant contribution to help meet the housing needs of the district and to the delivery of unmet

housing needs from other areas.’

It maintains that the development would enable people to ‘enjoy healthy lifestyles in a high-quality built environment’ and would include a five-kilometre

circular trail for pedestrians and cyclists to ‘help enhance and make open spaces available to all, while respecting the high quality rural location.’

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It also says that ‘ a significant number of new jobs’ would be created during the construction phase and that the new employment land would provide further job opportunities.

The development would also, it says, add to the local economy with an increase in local spending in shops and services, through both the construction phase and once new homeowners move into the area.

However local residents have already put forward opposition to the proposals following a public consultation held in May. A petition against the development stated: “To allow the development of this land will be devastating to the environment, wildlife, and natural habitats of our much needed pollinators.” It has gained more than 2,200 signatures since it was started.

Residents also expressed concerns over a ‘huge amount of extra cars’ that would be using roads not designed for such volumes of traffic, while there were also concerns about how Berkeley Homes would address water neutrality requirements.

And many villagers feel that Southwater has already taken its fair share of new housing with Berkeley Homes having already built hundreds of homes at Broadacres to the west of Worthing Road.