Residents hit out at ‘mad cap’ plans for new mini town near Billingshurst

Proposals to build a new 3,500-home ‘mini town’ near Billingshurst have been denounced as ‘mad cap’ plans.

A development company known as Our Place is proposing to build the homes, along with schools, a health centre, road and rail improvements and provide employment space on a greenfield site at Adversane.

The company says 3,500 jobs will be created in the area which it is calling Kingswood.

But local residents from Billingshurst, Broadford Bridge, and Adversane have formed a protest group known as BigSTAND to fight the proposals.

Adversane. Photo courtesy of Google Maps

The plans have been submitted to Horsham District Council for inclusion in the council’s Local Plan which is currently being consulted on. No decisions have yet been made.

Chairman of the BigSTAND action group Julian Trumper said: “This mad cap new town proposal is wrong in so many ways. Building on 150 hecatres of greenfield land in the countryside is probably the most unsustainable way to build new homes.

“There is no infrastructure to support the 3,500 houses and 3,500 jobs claimed by the developers.

“The roads will be swamped with more cars and our railway stations and trains will not be able to cope with the extra demand from commuters.

“This new town plan should be rejected.”

He added: “It makes much better sense to concentrate new development either in places where the jobs, infrastructure and public transport are already, or in new settlements large enough and well enough located to support a full range of new facilities. This ill-thought out proposal is the worst of all worlds.”

He said that even if the developers were able to create 3,500 jobs, there was no evidence these would be taken by residents, leading to extra commuting in and out of the area.

He added: “With 3,500 new houses and 3,500 new jobs there will be significantly increased traffic and congestion on the A29 and B2133 and within Billingshurst, Pulborough, Adversane, West Chiltington and surrounding area.”

But developers Our Place say their proposals for 3,500 homes at Adversane ‘would play an important role in meeting local housing targets for the district.’

They say the new settlement would be “carefully masterplanned taking a sustainable and people-centric approach to creating a walkable live-work community.

“Pro-active engagement with key stakeholders and the local community will be undertaken at the appropriate stages of the process and will be vital in ensuring that Kingswood not only supports Horsham’s economic and housing strategies but delivers a great place for people to live and work.”

Kevin Bundy, CEO at Our Place said: “Our Place can confirm it has submitted proposals for land at Adversane, located between Pullborough and Billingshurst, to Horsham District Council for consideration in the Local Plan review.”

He added “The site would play an important role in meeting local housing targets for the district, but our proposals are not just about homes, they are about jobs and community creation, enhancing and protecting the natural environment, responsible development and providing infrastructure that supports a small Sussex town.”