Published Monday, 21st December 2015

At the Full Council meeting on Thursday 17 December the proposed Horley business park proposal was discussed and there were a number of public questions about the proposal. Find out more.

At the Full Council meeting on Thursday 17 December, there were a number of public questions about the proposed Horley business park. Council meetings are very formal and the question and answer process is too. We will be seeking to meet with those people who asked questions more informally to discuss with them their views and concerns more fully at this very early stage.   
There has been a lot of developer interest in creating a business park close to Gatwick Airport. This has met with support from business organisations as there is a lack of good quality accommodation in this part of the South East and considerable demand for it.

The Council anticipated that this would result in developers presenting the case for development and submitting planning applications. We have become involved at an early stage to seek to shape and influence the development to maximise benefits for local residents and businesses in the event that planning permission is given. At the moment, the proposal is not yet at the planning application stage, which makes it difficult to answer local residents’ questions in detail but it gives us a good opportunity to involve them in shaping the proposal.

We are committed to engaging fully with local residents and businesses before any planning application is put forward. This is likely to be in the summer of next year.  We hope to meet with those local residents who asked questions at our council meeting last week. 

In the meantime here is an early response to some of the questions that have been raised:

Why will the Council not confirm who the joint venture partners are?

There is nothing untoward about this; it is simply that the Council has not yet signed the joint venture agreements with the organisations concerned but is in negotiations to conclude the agreements imminently. It would be premature for the Council to issue details of joint venture partners ahead of any formal agreement being signed. The joint venture partners can and will be announced once the agreements are signed.

Who owns the land?

The land to the west of the Balcombe Road includes Meadowcroft, Fishers Farm and Bayhorne Farm. Fishers Farm and Bayhorne Farm are occupied under a lease which comes to an end in the next few years. There are three owners of land to the west of the Balcombe Road – this is a matter of public record. These include the County Council and two private owners. The Council is in discussion with the three land owners.

The land to the east of the Balcombe Road is in more fragmented ownership. Some of the land is fields. The Council has now met with some of the owners who have businesses and will arrange to meet others. The Council will discuss with businesses how they can be supported through the proposed changes. If any business is adversely affected by the proposals then they are entitled to compensation which is a statutory process and the Council has made it clear it recognises the potential obligation here. Two land owners with interests in the land to the east of the Balcombe Road have approached the Council following the announcement.

Why does the Council need to allocate funding to the project?

Full Council on Thursday 17 December agreed to finalise the joint venture arrangements and bring forward a planning application on this strategic employment site. This authority included funding the work needed to develop the outline planning application. It is hoped that through signing the proposed joint venture agreements that the draft capital budget may be reduced. 

Through the planning process it would be for the Council and its potential joint venture partners to attempt to make the case to the Planning Committee that development of this site will bring material benefits to the borough and the residents of Horley that outweigh the policies in the adopted plan. 

Further questions and answers

Please find a link to the Horley business park proposal page which has answers to some of the other questions that we have been receiving.