Notes of a meeting of all working parties held on 26th September 2016 at 10am at Roffey Millennium Hall
Purpose:- three working parties appointed as part of co-ordinating a full response to the outline planning application recently submitted for development north of Horsham (DC/16/1677). The application includes housing (up to 2,750 dwellings), a business park (up to 46,450 m2), retail, community centre, leisure facilities, education facilities, public open space, landscaping and related infrastructure and has reserved matters except for access.
Remit:- to review comments put forward so far to enable the first draft of a submission to be developed.
Working Group Members:- Nicholas Butler, Roland Knight, Richard Millington, Helen Ralston, Ray Turner*, Roger Wilton, Frances Haigh*, Tony Rickett, Sally Wilton, Martin Loates, David Searle, Ian Wassell. Resident Mr Laurie Holt was welcomed as part of the group.
The group reviewed the comments made by all groups, identified areas of overlap and areas where further research was required. The results of the discussions are in the embryonic submission document attached.
Further meetings and conclusion
• Wednesday 28th September 2016 at 10.30am. Ian Gledhill, Principal Planner (Highways) for West Sussex County Council will join the meeting and this will be specifically to look at Transport.
• Thursday 29th September 2016 between 6pm and 7.30pm. David Lowen, the Horsham District Council case officer will be present. This will be to discuss ways of moving forward and to gain advice and guidance
• 29th September 2016 at 7.30pm – Planning Meeting – recommendations will be put forward for consideration.
• 6th October 2016 – 7pm – HALC Meeting in Pulborough – Ian Gledhill (See above) will attend to discuss transport implications with all Horsham District Council (HDC) parishes.
• 27th October 2016 – Extraordinary PCM at 8pm at the Tythe Barn to agree an initial response to HDC.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 11.50am.
Notes taken by the Clerk (Pauline Whitehead)
First draft submission document
Purpose:- Comments from three working parties appointed from the Planning, Environment and Transport Committee to develop a full response to the outline planning application for development north of Horsham (DC/16/1677). The application includes housing (up to 2,750 dwellings), a business park (up to 46,450 m2), retail, community centre, leisure facilities, education facilities, public open space, landscaping and related infrastructure and has reserved matters except for access.
North Horsham Parish Council has given due consideration to Planning Application DC/16/1677 and puts forward comments as follows:-
North Horsham Parish Council would strongly recommend that the developers review the proposed transport infrastructure serving the development north of the A264 to take into account:-
• That the stretch of the A264 is an important part of the wider transport system that forms a part of the route from the south coast northwards to London via the M23 or via the A24 through Dorking and Leatherhead.
• The part played by smaller roads in the vicinity of the development that are used to avoid congestion on the major routes. Many of the smaller roads are extremely narrow and pass through rural hamlets and communities or through residential areas of Horsham already congested with traffic.
• Development at Kilnwood Vale, west of Horsham and in Southwater has put increased pressure on the major routes, especially the A264 with evidence that traffic has slowed as a result.
• That traffic on the A264 is not unduly impeded by vehicles accessing, exiting and crossing into the new development thus causing additional congestion on major routes and the road networks in adjacent parishes.
• That there are sufficient, safe, prominent, visible and accessible crossings for non motorised traffic (pedestrians and cyclists) to reduce dangers to users and encourage car use to be at a minimum.
• That buses are not directed along Pondtail Drive and Pondtail Road both of which are narrow and unsuitable for this purpose. Pondtail Road is subject to flooding.
• This development has a huge impact on the residents of Horsham and its surrounding communities and the developer has a duty to offer appropriate solutions to challenges within the highway infrastructure.
• It would appear that the road layouts proposed are based on reducing financial outlay rather than on providing good infrastructure solutions for the benefit of North Horsham. A precedent has been set by the development west of Horsham (Broadbridge Health) and it is important that the best solutions are sought and financial investment is maximised for the benefit of local residents.
The proposed road system
North Horsham Parish Council wishes to challenge the evidence on vehicle movements cited by the developer that led them to put forward the road structure proposals and to decide how the development would be phased (Design and Access Statement pg 144; 08. – see ‘Phasing’ later in the notes – possible consultant support).
Proposed new roundabout on A264 at Langhurstwood Road
• The proposed roundabout at Langhurstwood Road is considered to be ill conceived, relying on existing infrastructure that was not intended for significant traffic flows and is therefore not fit for this purpose. In particular, Pondtail Drive was never intended as a through road. It is narrow and it leads onto a local road structure that is already at capacity during peak times.
• The distance between the roundabout on Pondtail Road and the proposed new roundabout is relatively short. The impact of the restricted length is that traffic travelling north onto the A264 is likely to back up at peak times and spill out of Pondtail Drive causing congestion on Pondtail Road. Traffic coming off the A264 travelling south along Pondtail Drive at peak times could back up causing congestion on the A264.
• There was considerable concern for those residents on Pondtail Drive who would lose significant amenity and be subjected to increased noise and vibration from traffic including buses and lorries should the proposal go ahead.
• The option in DC/16/1677 would increase traffic back towards Horsham within the existing road infrastructure along Pondtail Road. There would be increased risks to the safety of road users because Pondtail Road narrows to enable traffic to navigate the bridge under the railway line and this is an area where there has been a history of flooding. Buses travelling along the narrower part of Pondtail Road would especially pose a danger to oncoming traffic.
• A roundabout slowing traffic at Langhurstwood Road would lead to congestion further along the A264 and on the A24, but it is considered acceptable to have a vehicular access onto and leaving the new development only at this point.
• There is potential to provide a bridge to enable cyclists and pedestrians to cross to and from Langhurstwood Road/ Pondtail Road over the A264.
This must be grade separated to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, to provide good non motorised access to and from the new development and to ensure that the flow of traffic on the A264 is not impeded.
Northlands Road to Old Holbrook
It is recommended that this junction becomes an access for pedestrians and cyclists between the existing settlement in North Horsham and the new development as an alternative to Pondtail Drive. This access allows more direct access to North Heath Lane.
• The diagrams within the planning application did not reflect reality.
• In order to access the town centre and residential areas to the east of Horsham, traffic exiting the A264 from the Rusper Road roundabout is likely to encounter the railway crossing at Littlehaven station which causes significant congestion and tailbacks and therefore is not suitable as the main access for the new development for all traffic. However, this was the favoured route for buses as it links with Littlehaven Railway Station and leads to the main Horsham station.
• As the Rusper Road roundabout is shown currently as the access point on the new development for schools and Littlehaven Station it would be logical instead to install a two level system (graded) whereby only cyclists, pedestrians and buses could cross the A264 from Rusper Road at this point without impeding the flow of traffic on this major route for those travelling from the south coast to Gatwick and areas where employment opportunities are more prevalent.
• Concern was raised regarding the proximity of proposed road expansion to an archaeological feature (Motte and Bailey) in Lemmington Way owned by Horsham District Council. It is incumbent on HDC to ensure that this local heritage feature is protected. The rampart of the Motte and Bailey, which is very close to the A264 boundary fence and an existing dwelling which is on the site of the proposed road works calls into question whether significant expansion of the roundabout is appropriate, especially when coupled with other concerns raised locally.
• A better solution would be to include a left hand filter from the A264 into Rusper Road (south) and a left hand filter from Rusper Road (south) onto the A264.
• Concern was raised at the impact to residents who live on Rusper Road and the surrounding area as noise and vibration from traffic is likely to increase.
New junction between Rusper Road roundabout and the Moorhead roundabout (Crawley Road) currently shown as Left In and Left Out
The new junction between Rusper Road roundabout and the Moorhead rouhndabout (Crawley Road) currently shown as left in and left out would be a better place for a roundabout to access the new development (but no access south into the existing residential areas off Bartholomew Way) as this would give more direct access to sports pitches, leisure facilities, railway station, schools and business park. It would also avoid traffic from the East having to travel on the A264 as far as Rusper Road roundabout and traffic exiting from the business park and railway station having to exit left and double back at the Moorhead roundabout.
• Improvements are required to increase the potential capacity for traffic travelling along the A264 without deviation from the west northwards and vice versa at this roundabout. This could include dedicated left turn carriageways on the A264 to enable traffic to turn from the north into Crawley Road and from Crawley Road west onto the A264. There have been numerous incidents of lorries travelling west towards the Great Daux roundabout on the A264 from Crawley tipping over on the Moorhead roundabout and ways of designing out that possibility need to be considered to improve safety.
• Concern was expressed regarding traffic turning in and out of Earles Meadow from the Moorhead roundabout and the dangers posed by vehicles turning across fast moving traffic near a blind corner. A small roundabout may offer a solution.
Wimlands Road is crossed by the main rail line to London and has a level crossing, therefore its suitability as the emergency route for evacuating the carriageway on the A264 in case of an emergency and for accessing the new development is questioned and evidenced reassurances are required.
Cycle and pedestrian access additional to that included above
• Provision of access routes will involve making breaks in the tree lines that run along the south side of the A264. The trees were originally installed as a buffer against noise for residents south of A264, therefore an alternative buffer zone will be required.
• Proposals for pedestrian and cycle access using grade separated routes at Langhurstwood Road, Old Holbrook and Rusper Road will supplement the access route near the football pitch at Shottermill across the A264 which appears to be included as part of a footpath route within the new plans.
• To improve the spinal route within the application to enable pedestrians and cyclists to travel unhindered from Roffey to Wimlands Road or to Warnham Station, it is considered that a footbridge that runs opposite the Earles Meadow turn on Crawley Road across the A264 to link in to the proposed ‘east /west spinal route’ would encourage more people to use it effectively. This could link in with the underpass close to the railway line in some way (see next bullet point). This could address the current lack of access for pedestrians and cyclists from the East/ Roffey and improve the internal linkages for pedestrians and cyclists from the business park and railways station so that they are not forced on to either a circuitous route to access crossing points or on dark, exposed paths across fields and parks to retail and residential areas.
• The underpass close to the railway line requires improvements including lighting to allow for pedestrian and cyclist access to the proposed railway station.
Internal Road Design
• There is concern that there is sufficient parking provision for residents and visitors.
• Use Secured by Design principals so that group car parking is easily accessible, easy to use, attractive and well lit.
• Discourage parking on the roads.
• Low level street lighting.
• The proposed new entrance to the development off the A264 will have to be suitable to take traffic currently using the first part of Langhurstwood Road which will be blocked off. This includes significant vehicle movement (including heavy lorries) to Biffa, Viridor and possibly the proposed incinerator proposed for the incinerator site. Does the design take that into consideration?
• How will housing design along the access road allow for noise and vibration from the heavy traffic movements?
• A zone of landscaping may help to reduce impact on residents to give some distance and segregation, but careful design is imperative if housing is to be built in this area. This includes consideration of dust and pollution from emissions which could have an environmental/health effect on residents
• Concern was raised regarding the width and design of internal roads especially that linking to the business park.
Viability of public transport
• Is there potential to improve Warnham station – what would the impact be on Warnham residents? It was observed that there are problems with capacity at Waterloo and that there would need to be significant ‘buy in’ from the franchises that run rail networks to facilitate any changes to use the Dorking line.
• What will happen if the railway station is not built – does the finalised transport layout still work?
• The land allocated for the railway station should be used as a terminus for a Park and Ride facility in phase 1 of the development to encourage residents on the new development to access Horsham without using their cars.
• It has been stated that if a new station is to be built in North Horsham another one between Horsham and Crawley has to close. Kilnwood Vale has been promised a station and improvements have recently been made at Littlehaven Station, therefore in reality, the station at North Horsham appears to be reduced in priority. What evidence is there for the viability of the station?
• If the station isn’t built, then reassurance would be required to confirm that the money allocated for this would be invested in highways infrastructure and not more dwellings.
• It was observed that Littlehaven Station may need further improvements as usage increases as it currently has a limited capacity and there are areas where the access is not safe.
• A good public transport system with ideal walking distances to bus stops (400 metres) from the start of construction to minimise the impact on the new residents and on existing infrastructure.
• A Park and Ride facility adjacent to the proposed new station to incorporate into existing bus routes. Existing bus routes 23, 98 and 200 could easily link to the facility and provide improved connectivity between the new development Crawley and Horsham.
• Buses to be routed down Rusper Road to connect to railway stations to reduce the use of cars.
The DAS indicates that phasing has been carefully considered and takes account of early delivery of key infrastructure, including the education and education elements. Liberty pledge early delivery of infrastructure where possible and in consultation with key stakeholders to ensure that infrastructure is delivered in an appropriate and timely manner. A programme of delivery for the highway infrastructure will be agreed and the sequence of works, including the delivery of the new junctions on the A264. (DAS Pg 144 S8) However, there appears to be no information on the phasing of the business park which is vital for the viability of the development. Further information and commitment on the phasing structure is required.
• SuDS (Sustainable drainage systems). It is noted that SuDS are used wherever possible, ie the use of holding ponds and water loving tree species to manage flooding, however, could water draining into the streams on site create a problem downstream in the town where flooding is already an issue? Note serious flooding in recent years at Hills Farm and Tanbridge Park. Also flooding further along the River Arun for example at Pulborough. Will the proposals move any flooding problems along?
• Concern regarding discharge of water especially during what contaminants and the effect on wildlife habitats in local area, especially Warnham Nature Reserve – site of local value and wealth of wild life.
• Is HDC satisfied that the development will not affect the designation of the flood plain and as a consequence insurance?
• Need assurance that open spaces that are already in existence, for example the Riverside Walk are preserved within the ethos that they were originated, ie that the walk is not diverted through development. Similarly, footpaths that are being diverted.
• Who will be responsible for green spaces and trees both in the day to day management and long term? Concern that this may fall to the Parish Council but without the resources, both finance and manpower.
• How will proposed facilities fit in with those already in existence in Horsham. Concern that new facilities may impact on the viability of existing leisure centres, multi courts, sport and leisure provision.
• Also concern about community centre and how it impacts on halls, community centres already in existence in Horsham.
• Sports facilities should have non-invasive lighting to protect nearby housing from light pollution.
• Should sports pitches have changing facilities available?
• Concern about who is responsible for maintenance of any recreational facilities.
• The proposed road system goes through designated ancient woodland and should be protected with proper buffer zones.
• Is HDC and Sport England satisfied that the provision of land for sport replaces what has been lost within North Horsham from development on land previously designated for sport eg. Jackdaw Lane.
• The size of the sports hub is not commensurate with the development and described as being a ‘destination’ facility which implies that it will attract visitors from outside the immediate area. This puts additional pressure on the transport system in and around the development.
• Continuity in design and in the Sussex vernacular.
• Good housing mix of different sized housing.
• The sample of building design and materials appears to be sympathetic to local design, but guidance will be sought from the Horsham Society – in line with the Horsham Design Statement. (Contact made)
• Houses include access points for broadband and TV reception to avoid unsightly satellite dishes or large aerials.
• It would appear that higher density and lower cost housing is close to the access road and that there is not a good mix of lower cost and higher priced housing in proximity to each other.
• Who will measure the impact on noise during construction? How will it be policed and enforced and will there be time restrictions ie no noise before 8am or after 5pm?
• Noted 381 construction workers on site potentially for 14 years over the full time of the development, mostly living in caravans, how will noise from this group be controlled as they will tend to have a communal outdoor space. During the construction period, sufficient temporary car parking for construction workers.
• Concern that workers may travel in several cars to one point and travel forward in one car leaving streets in north Horsham with additional parking.
• Need assurance that HDC considers that there are adequate tyre washing facilities.
Retail and business
• There are concerns regarding the feasibility of a business park for high value manufacturing and technology as there is spare capacity of office provision within Horsham (with some offices being redesigned as housing), business units on Manor Royal in Crawley stand empty and there is a science business park being built on the site where Novartis stood which is more likely to attract occupation as there are closer links to the town centre and colleges. What evidence of need has been used?
• Loss of major employers (eg Novartis, Royal Sun Alliance and Applied Materials ) are testament to the unattractiveness of Horsham as a major location for new investment.
• Is there provision for sufficient car parking and delivery by lorries?
• The scale of the retail area is not commensurate with the development and will attract those from outside the development to visit, especially those from Kilnwood Vale as that development has no facilities. This has an impact on traffic on the surrounding roads and on roads within the development.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Horsham District Planning Framework(HDPF) and Strategic Housing Market Assessment all recommend 35% Affordable Housing on new development. Of that 35%, Horsham District Council’s SHMA recommends that 20% is one bedroom housing, 45% is 2 bedroom housing, 25% is 3 bedroom housing and 10% is 4 bedroom plus housing.
In 2011 the breakdown of housing in Horsham was as follows:-
72% home ownership (this was a declining figure)
13% social tenants
14% private tenants
1% shared ownership
Planning application DC/16/1677 includes affordable housing as follows:-
30% local need (5% below the recommended amount)
Of that 30% 5% is contingent on the business park being built. (Reducing the potential to 25% and reducing the overall percentage of affordable housing if land for the business park is used for housing)
Of the proposed 30% 12.7% is affordable rental, 5% is shared ownership, 4.7% is discount market and 7.3% is private rented.
The total area of the site is 231.80 hectares of that 83% is being put to residential land use. (36%) The proportion of the site being offered for affordable housing is extremely small.
Whilst only 30% of the total number of houses will be categorised as affordable, it has been identified that this will represent a £5.66 million deficit to the developer which they are willing to carry. However, the amount of affordable housing is less than is considered necessary for the development and the amount is not acceptable.
Has a housing needs survey been done and if so what is actually needed?
• Only 39 one bedroom properties are included within the proposals. There is anecdotal evidence that 1 and 2 bedroomed properties are required for single occupancy and for downsizing.
• There is no sheltered housing in the scheme to offer opportunities to older residents.
• If the business park goes ahead the proposal for affordable housing is lower than recommended by the NPPF and HDPF, however, should the business park not go ahead and the recommendations of North Horsham Parish Council not to use the land for additional housing be ignored, provision should be made to increase affordable housing.
• There is concern that this development could encourage Horsham to become more of a dormitory settlement for London which doesn’t encourage local enterprise and promote a strong community.
• Policy SD8 states that 2 primary schools and a secondary school will be included in the planning application. DC/16/1677 indicates “on the school campus on the east of the site will be a secondary school, primary school and special educational needs. Land north of the proposed school campus could be acquired by West Sussex County Council if future expansion became a reality. A second primary school is proposed in the western part of the site.” (Folder 1; Application documents ; page 18 sections 3.4 – 3.43) Clarification is required as to what the developer will actually provide….land or the actual facilities.
• Depending on the phased building of the development, there is a potential for those in the west of the area to have no definitive route to the larger school campus. Access to the school for those in the extreme west of the site is across the busy access road.
• Additional school places are vital to cope with the increased need from all of the development around Horsham. This will be even more urgent when the development north of Horsham is built.
• Should this development have a senior school or would it be better placed in Southwater to avoid bussing children in and out of Horsham. Reducing the need to bus children would save money, protect the environment and encourage children to walk to school with the resulting health benefits. Having a senior school on the new development puts additional pressure on the transport system both in terms of buses and cars which are inevitable when children are collected from school. The provision of a new secondary school in Southwater would be highly sustainable as it has existing infrastructure and sufficient pupils and its location is supported by the local education policy.
• It is extremely disappointing that there is a lack of specified commitment to health within the application. Acknowledgement is given to the work of the Clinical Commissioning Group and their effort to ensure that an appropriate health facility commensurate to the size and needs of the local population is provided is supported.
• Horsham is roughly 15 miles from all of the main hospitals in the surrounding area, therefore, a health facility such as a walk in centre would be of benefit.
• Concern was expressed regarding all transport links to the hospitals but especially public transport links which are not only difficult, often including many changes, but extremely costly.
• Consideration should be given to using one of the business units adjacent to the A264 to be used as a fire/ ambulance /Police station for quick and easy access to major roads and Horsham.
• The community centre should complement existing community facilities in Horsham.
• Consideration was given to what the community centre may be used for :- toddler groups/ Scouts/ Guides/ Day Centre/information point/CAB/Library/ Small business support. Who would manage the community centre. Could it be the Parish Council?
• Concern was raised regarding the physical divide that Old Holbrook provides which segregates the new development. The resulting two distinct areas have individual characteristics of lower density and higher density housing. Reassurance was required to ensure that there would be links which would integrate the three areas to create a cohesive community.
• How will the development of Gatwick Airport and the proposed incinerator influence this development and who would review it?
• Gatwick Airport has not objected to the application on the grounds of noise as the development was outside the specified noise contours although it was recommended that potential house buyers were advised that there could be aircraft noise. They had however raised concern about the provision for SuDS (Sustainable Drainage Systems) attracting birds that could be a potential hazard (bird strike). Further concern was raised regarding tall buildings with ledges that could attract birds (again bird strike) and solar panels that could cause glaring and cause difficulty for the pilot.
• How can the developer be held accountable for delivering what has been promised in the application?
• Assurance is required from HDC that if a facility isn’t built the land will not be used for more housing.
• Concern about pressure on existing services such as schools, doctors’ surgeries, dentists etc.
• Will the new development be part of North Horsham Parish?
• Will the facilities on the new development complement those already existing in Horsham?
• How will the large developments west of Horsham be impacted by the development in North Horsham and will the impact reach to Kilnwood Vale and Southwater?
• It is disappointing that the developer has chosen to hold its public exhibition in Horsham (Park Barn on 30th September 2016 and 1st October 2016) rather than in North Horsham Parish. The venue for the public exhibition is away from the town centre with limited paid parking which could restrict the ability of some local residents to attend.