QC for the developers, Mr Boyle, began the day with an attack on Horsham's planning policies, arguing with clever questioning that they were not compatible with the National Panning Policy Framework and were therefore invalid. His sustained verbal assault on Horsham's Case Officer lasted more than 3 hours.
In the afternoon, Ms Lambert, the Junior Barrister representing Horsham, cross-examined the developer's agent, Mr. Rodway. With rather less bombast than Mr Boyle, she quietly took apart the arguments he had constructed during the morning. She then proceeded to address the Sandy Lane proposals themselves, showing that the alleged benefits of public open space and extra household expenditure were illusory,
The inquiry closed at 5.30pm so that the inspector could visit the site before the arrival of the bad weather expected on Friday. He toured the area for 2 hours, checking viewpoints into and out of the field, understanding the setting of the listed cottages and the Conservation Area.
One of the key issues for him to assess was whether Chanctonbury View constituted "a harsh edge to the settlement boundary" that would be improved by building 42 more houses. Also as part of the tour, several residents kindly agreed to show him the views from their living rooms.
Friday morning began with the formal agreement of conditions should the planning appeal be allowed. And then the closing statements:
- CPRH, as an 'interested party', was invited to speak first. Steve Bailey summed up the arguments, talking about heritage, landscape, traffic and road safety.
- Ms Lambert then presented the Horsham case, summarising the arguments made yesterday.
- Finally, Mr Boyle, reiterated the case for the developers.
There is no indication at this stage of which way the inspector will decide. His decision is expected some time in September or the first half of October.
Phil Johnson speaking for CPRH said "We could not possibly have done anything more. The inspector was very fair in giving us time to speak, all our speakers were brilliant and the support from people coming to listen has been fantastic. Our thanks to them all."
You can read the closing statements at these links:
CPRH Closing Statement
Horsham Closing Statement
Fairfax Closing Statement