In the latest issue of PSB Magazine, Geoff Smith, director of planning at DMH Stallard, discusses the plans for a new community development in Horsham, West Sussex.
Horsham District’s Full Council has resolved to approve Liberty Property Trust’s application for 2,750 new homes and a new business park of 46,450 square metres.
The scheme will deliver an estimated 4,000 new job opportunities and 825 new homes, specifically allocated to meet local needs.
Fundamental to the scheme is the development of extensive facilities and services, which form part of an overall infrastructure with a community benefits package of around £50 million. This will include a new school campus, comprising a primary and a secondary school, as well as provision for early years education and children with special needs.
In addition, there will be a multi-use community centre, shops, health facilities, sport and recreation amenities and open space for the public.
DMH Stallard has been providing planning advice to Liberty Property Trust for a number of years, leading to this site’s inclusion in the Horsham District Planning Framework as a mixed-used strategic allocation. This planning decision is a major step forward in this vision becoming a reality.
The planning application was supported by a comprehensive Environmental Statement, addressing such matters as: landscape and visual impacts; ecology; heritage; socio-economics; air quality, noise, and drainage.
Other reports included a transport assessment; design and access statement and reports on housing; planning policy, and sport and recreation.
These were considered together by Horsham District Council, which concluded that this planning application is in accordance with the adapted Horsham District Planning Framework, and is therefore a sustainable development, as required by the National Planning Policy Framework.
This planning application is, therefore, a positive response to the Government’s stated aim of achieving a sustainable development. It is a comprehensive, mixed-use scheme, which has its foundation in the adapted Horsham Plan. It is a key part of the Plan’s strategic development policy, being the major identified mixed-use strategic development in the district.
The Masterplan for this scheme has evolved as a positive response to Horsham District Council’s Concept Masterplan and also contains nine site-specific policies, which address the proposed mix of uses.
These have been the basis of the creation of the Masterplan, which forms part of the planning application, to confirm policy compliance. The new business park is a direct response to one of Horsham District Council’s six priority themes, being to achieve a successful local economy with high levels of employment.
Horsham District is well placed to capture higher value economic growth opportunities, such as those promoted through the Gatwick Diamond and the Local Enterprise Partnership strategies. A new, high quality business park in this location provides the scope to broaden the district’s business base.
The new community at North Horsham will incorporate a range of housing for local needs, with differing housing types, sizes and tenures in order to meet the identified needs of the district. These include affordable rent, shared ownership, discount market, private rented and custom build accommodation.
There will also be a comprehensive mix of market housing, wholly appropriate for this edge of settlement location.
All of this housing will be provided in a phased manner over the period of the Horsham Plan. It will be a comprehensively planned development, with an extensive range of facilities and services to ensure that the new residents experience community living in a sustainable way.
The new schools will have extensive playing fields and will be principally located in a school campus, in the heart of the new community.
There will also be a local centre, which will incorporate community facilities including healthcare, a community hall and food stores. Also proposed is a comprehensive sports hub, providing outdoor sports pitches, suitable for a variety of different activities, to maximise the sustainable and positive use of the facilities.
The whole scheme is designed to relate sympathetically with the landform and existing natural features, and there are substantial areas of multi-functional green space throughout.
These include natural and semi-natural green space, as well as parks and amenity space, youth and children’s play spaces, sports and recreational areas, all within easy reach of the new housing.
There is also recognition of the importance of retaining and enhancing the wildlife habitats within the application site where possible. This includes the creation of new habitats, as well as a network of new greenways to provide connectivity of habitats.
Connectivity is at the heart of the masterplanning for this new community, both within the scheme and also with Horsham town itself, in accordance with the District Council’s Concept Masterplan, new sustainable transport connections are proposed throughout the scheme, including comprehensive pedestrian and cycle routes.
There will also be public transport routes across the site. New and improved access routes and road junctions are proposed to ensure direct and inclusive links with Horsham; land is also safeguarded for a new railway station and associated parking.
These all combine to meet the transport requirements set out in the adapted Plan.
This new community will ensure that the Government’s objective of achieving sustainable development in a Plan-led manner is achieved in Horsham District.
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