By Martin Read
Horsham is certainly doing its bit to combat the housing shortage – with huge developments in Broadbridge Heath and Southwater and more in train for North Horsham, the former Novartis site, and possibly near the Boars Head pub. Yet, now a substantial development is being proposed for the 124 acre Horsham Golf & Fitness site, accessed from the Worthing Road opposite the Park & Ride facility. Horsham Golf & Fitness have just staged two exhibitions outlining their proposals in conjunction with the London-based Generator Group, who have acquired a 50% interest in the golf club. Generator describe themselves as a diverse property group and have been responsible for developments in Bristol, Felixstowe, Ipswich, Norwich and Rottingdean. The background is that in late 2015, Horsham District Council adopted the Horsham District Planning Framework (HDPF), which identified or allocated sites to deliver 16,000 homes between 2011 and 2031, and HDC is currently reviewing HDPF to identify sites for development from this year to 2036. At this stage Generator Group and Horsham Golf & Fitness are not submitting a planning application, but are instead promoting a vision via the HDPF review, by developing what they describe as “an emerging masterplan for Horsham Golf & Fitness Village”. The vision is to create a health-based community with facilities for the district, to augment the existing golf arrangements – founded in 1993 – and the new Horsham Football Club facilities with an “evolving programme of professional sports and wellbeing coaching and other participation opportunities for all ages”.
In addition to up to 555 new homes, the plan, if approved, would be to retain a 9 hole golf course and a 9 hole academy course with a new clubhouse, a golf college, a running track to accommodate a local athletics club, a new home for Horsham Hockey Club including Astroturf pitches, gymnastic facilities, outdoor gyms, cycle byways, a woodland trail, and “as diverse a range of sports and leisure opportunities on the site as possible”, with attendant employment opportunities. A café, farm shop, newsagent and primary school are also proposed.
Generator and Horsham Golf & Fitness emphasise that this is a starting point discussion and that they are keen for the district’s residents to have their say, it being likely to be two years before the proposed scheme is incorporated into the HDPF, followed by the lengthy design and appeals process leading to the formal application for planning permission.
This year the Horsham District has benefited from an extraordinary increase in new sports facilities – surely unlikely to be emulated in any other town: The Bridge Leisure Centre, Horsham Football Club, Southwater Sports Club, and Broadbridge Heath Football Club, in addition to the superb new ‘all weather’ pitch and changing room complex at Horsham Rugby Club, and the recently installed artificial multi-sport amenity at Christ’s Hospital School.
When the new home for Horsham Football Club was mooted for the Horsham Golf & Fitness site, much concern was expressed about increased traffic on the narrow, busy and fast moving Worthing Road. Generator and Horsham Golf & Fitness seek to counter such worries by proposals to upgrade the junctions of the two existing vehicular access points to the site, with potential for improvements to the Hop Oast roundabout, along with the possibility of a fifth arm coming into the site from the roundabout, a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists over the A24, and the suggestion of secondary/emergency access provided from Southwater’s Coltstaple Lane. Whether or not the Horsham Golf & Fitness project reaches fruition, it is already clear that today’s children will grow up in a very different Horsham from that of their grandparents.
Views on the proposed Horsham Golf & Fitness proposals can be expressed via the website – www.horshamgolfandfitnessvillage.co.uk – or by calling 0800 298 7040 or e mailing firstname.lastname@example.org