Abingworth Phase 3

14 May 2019: Abingworth Phase 3 – developer consultation on revisions to permitted scheme

Residents of central and southern Thakeham have in recent days received from Abingworth Homes the consultation flyer below, regarding proposed changes to the final Phase 3 of the scheme. The deadline for responses is 31 May.

The developer has iterated ‘pre-app’ versions of these proposals with Horsham District Council over the last six months.  The Parish Council has given feedback to that process, without being party to the specific proposals that have emerged. We have flagged the concerns that community will have about a further substantial uplift of house numbers beyond the 12 already consented since the original development of 146 units was approved. The developer and HDC have been reminded that Thakeham Neighbourhood Plan (Policy 4) envisages that the Abingworth Development can tolerate ‘a change in the mix of dwellings that may lead to a modest increase in the total number of dwellings but not to the extent that the scheme will have any greater impacts on the landscape, local infrastructure and traffic movements than the consented scheme’.

As well as its concerns regarding increased unit numbers, the PC has emphasised the need for the housing mix to be guided by HDC’s own housing needs analysis, including a full complement of affordable units, and forward-looking provision for house designs that are suitable for an ageing population.  We have flagged the need to retain an element of employment/business space within the scheme, and have constructively suggested ways to mitigate environmental impacts – especially of increased vehicle numbers.

The proposals now being consulted-on seem to respond to some, but by no means all of the PCs steers and concerns, and the PC will be reflecting carefully and listening to local views before it decides its position.  The Parish Council will not itself respond formally to this consultation, and will reserve its consideration for the actual planning application, which is expected within 3-4 months.  This is partly because the PC wants to see the resident feedback arising from this consultation, and any amends to the proposals that may result from that feedback.  The PC also needs to be careful not to pre-empt the open-minded consideration that it is required to give to all planning applications. The PC’s eventual response to the formal application that will follow this consultation will be decided in an open planning meeting that all residents can attend.

Meanwhile, the PC’s members will of course be actively developing their own views on both the general and specific aspects of these proposals.

Abingworth Phase 3 developer consultation May 2019