At a planning meeting last week the Lib Dem and Tory councillors voted to build nearly 1000 homes on Broadbridge Heath, doubling the size of the village at a stroke.
Horsham Labour party spoke against this application, on the grounds that the plans contain insufficient affordable housing, with just 20% of the development site to be affordable. Our reactions are below.
We predicted that the Lib Dems would claim that they didn’t have enough time to work out which way they might vote in respect of the 963 home Countryside Properties planning application for Broadbridge Heath. What we hadn’t expected was that three of the eight Lib Dem councillors would vote with the Tories in favour of the application.
We will never know how the Lib Dem councillor for Broadbridge Heath might have voted as she didn’t even bother to attend the meeting. What we witnessed tonight was a disgrace to local democracy.
Eight local people spoke against this application with only one, the developer, speaking in favour. We were amazed that there were so many seemingly unresolved aspects to the planning application but that the Tories, supported by more than a third of the Lib Dem councillors present, seemed content to nod the application through.
Ray Chapman, Secretary of Horsham Labour party said:
It is disappointing that once again the Tory council has failed to achieve an amount anywhere near close to its own target of 40% affordable housing in its ‘negotiations’ with the developer. It is noticeable that on every occasion, no matter what the economic circumstances, the Tory council let the developer off the hook; ably assisted this time by Lib Dem councillors. Horsham Labour party will continue to put pressure on the council to do better and meet its obligation to the electorate.
On such an important development for Broadbridge Heath, and Horsham as a whole, it was disappointing that so many councillors including the councillor who represents this area, were not present at this crucial planning meeting. Presumably the absent councillors felt that they had more pressing business to pursue rather than represent the people who elected them.