Dear Letters Editor


We were interested to note the emphasis that Cllr. Milne placed on the role of the Housing Minister and planning reform in his comments in your letters page on Jeremy Quins’ resignation from the Cabinet. (West Sussex County Times, November 16th 2023)  Planning reforms undoubtedly have, as Cllr. Milne points out,  ‘ important consequences for Horsham District’,  particularly in relation to facilitating or obstructing the ability of our council to address the housing needs of Horsham residents.  It is absolutely clear to us that, over the past 13 years, the Conservative government has had very little interest in ensuring that their planning reforms addressed the country’s severe shortage of affordable housing. The consequences for Horsham District Council of the government’s disinterest is a local housing crisis that is so severe that increasing numbers of people locally are  homeless or at risk of homelessness,  and many others are struggling  with their  housing costs. For that reason alone, a change of government cannot come soon enough.


It is not, however, solely national government that has responsibility for the outcomes of the planning process, and it is disappointing that Cllr. Milne did not take the opportunity, when raising the issue of planning and housing, to mention what plans he, in his role of cabinet member for planning, and his cabinet colleagues are doing to address the local housing crisis.  We are well aware of the current constraints  there are on development as a result of the water neutrality issues, but  when there are 339 families living in overcrowded accommodation in the District, an increasing number of households on the housing register and many more  currently housed in inappropriate temporary  accommodation, the council needs to identify solutions to this appalling situation before it gets any worse.


Horsham Labour Party has highlighted the number of empty homes in the District, we have raised concerns about the affordable housing developments that have stalled due to the developers financial difficulties. We have pointed out the unaffordability of affordable rent locally. The new Lib Dem administration, of which Cllr.  Milne is a member has the opportunity to look into these matters and find solutions that will benefit those in need of housing. They have the opportunity to ensure that the Local plan delivers on the promises made in the Lib Dem manifesto, including the promise to  build more social housing,  with 100 percent affordable housing on public land.  We do not think it is enough for Cllr. Milne to point the finger at others when it comes to the local housing situation.  He and his cabinet colleagues have the opportunity to make a real and important difference as far as addressing the housing crisis is concerned, we would not like to see that opportunity missed!


Yours sincerely


Carol Hayton , Horsham Labour Party

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