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Nature is at the heart of potential plans for Rookwood

Concept plans for land adjoining Warnham Local Nature Reserve looking north from the Reserve

09 Dec 2020


Horsham District Council has developed an ambitious and forward-thinking proposal for Rookwood that offers opportunities to enhance the natural landscape for all to enjoy.

If accepted as part of the Local Plan, the sensitively designed development will provide opportunities for expansion of the nearby Warnham Nature Reserve as well as increased outdoor leisure and recreational facilities. The northern section of the site offers many possibilities for re-wilding, improving biodiversity, enhancing wildlife networks and enabling the community to get closer to nature.

The significant benefits of the proposal would include:

  • A beautifully designed development providing sustainable new homes for local people in a truly unique and stunning garden setting.
  • The proposed housing will be limited to approximately one third of the total land area and primarily focussed to the south of the Warnham Road.
  • There will be up to 300 new affordable homes.
  • A new primary school with shared leisure facilities for all of the community to enjoy.
  • Expansive green corridors and sympathetic landscaping to protect and enhance Boldings Brook and the Red River as well as mitigate existing flooding issues.
  • A new gateway to the northern section of the site with exciting possibilities for a new visitor centre, café and car park for visitors to Warnham Local Nature Reserve. As well as a network of new paths to encourage increased cycling and walking.
  • A real opportunity for increased ease of accessibility to the northern section of the site allowing more people to enjoy the green space without the limitations of the current golf course.
  • The development will deliver new funding which will enable the Council to continue to safeguard key frontline community services for future generations across the whole of the District.
  • An exemplar approach with mitigations for climate change, improved opportunities for health and wellbeing, protection of wildlife and enhancement of ecological biodiversity at the heart of the potential development.

Horsham District Council has listened and incorporated the feedback from residents, local businesses and key stakeholders in developing this proposal.

Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture Cllr Jonathan Chowen commented:

“I am pleased that following intense consultation we are now in a position to consider an exciting plan that can deliver such a broad scope of benefits for both the natural environment and the local community.

At the heart of this proposal is the protection of Warnham Local Nature Reserve and enhancement of the natural environment throughout the site.

“This proposal will further improve habitats for wildlife with green infrastructure very much at the forefront of our thinking, promoting environmental education and wellbeing and aligning with our overarching Wilder Horsham District nature recovery networks.

“It offers a unique opportunity to deliver a high quality, eco-friendly and less car centric development which will achieve far reaching community benefits and an inspiring, peaceful place to enjoy. The proposal will build upon the existing woodland landscape and increase the amount of open space for a much wider range of activities with pathways for cyclists and walkers to explore.

“If the proposal is allocated through the Local Plan, then we would be keen to consult further and work closely with residents, partners and stakeholders to develop ideas for what Rookwood will ultimately look like.

“At the heart of any development is the desire to ensure that nature thrives at Rookwood and is protected through our Wilder Horsham nature recovery networks.”

Cllr Jonathan Chowen, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture

This proposal has been submitted by real estate advisors Avison Young for independent assessment by Strategic Planning Officers as part of the process for the Council’s new Local Plan that the Government requires it to produce.

The next version of the Local Plan (Regulation 19) will be published for consultation early next year.

For media queries please email press@horsham.gov.uk .