Joanna Barnett has branded plans for the 172-acre development on a flood plain ‘outrageous’
BY NATASHA SALMON
A video of a woman rowing across the site of a proposed 172-acre business park in Horley has raised questions of “where will the water go?” if the development goes ahead.
Joanna Barnett is seen standing in two feet of water and, at the deeper points, is in a boat as she questions how a development can go ahead on a natural flood plain.
The 33-year-old school teacher has lived in the Horley area for 24 years and believes the development will transfer flooding issues to the surrounding area.
Standing with water almost at the top of her boots and addressing Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, Mrs Barnett said: “I would love to know where this water is going to go, on this known flood plain which floods every year.
“At the moment there are ducks swimming over there on this known pond, this known flood plain.
“Why do you think its OK to spend public money, £540,000, preparing this land for the business park? That is our money and it should not be spent trying to pave over a flood plain.
“This water will need to go somewhere, its not going to disappear, the only places its going to go is in people’s homes.
“This nonsense needs to stop, they need to cancel the plans and move on. This is a flood plain, 172 acres of flood plain.”
The proposed location for a new 172-acre business park in Horley
More than 3,200 people have now signed a petition railing against plans to create the 70 hectare business park.
Equivalent to 85 football pitches in size, it will be situated north of the M23 – close toGatwick Airport – and would be delivered over a 10-year period.
The petition was launched in October but since the video was uploaded signatures have increased by a few hundred.
Mrs Barnett has become a campaigner with the group “Keep Horley Green” who are against the development on Fishers Farm, featured in the video, which is currently categorised as a public open space.
She said: “I have become one of the campaigners because I live in the area and see this field and the whole area flood every year. The proposals are just so outrageous.
“The council are completely contradicting their own policies they have spent years developing by allowing this to go ahead.
“We have a lack of public open space in Horley and we will lose more if this goes ahead.
“If they go ahead and build my guess is if the water doesnt go to the surrounding area it will just go down stream and have a huge affect somewhere else.”
A spokesman from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council said: “We understand that residents are sensitive to flood risks, given record rainfall in recent weeks, but that is not a reason to dismiss the potential for a best-in-class business park in this location.
“We have the chance to deliver thousands of well-paid jobs for local people, opportunity for local businesses and regeneration for the town centre.
“It was only in October that we announced we were starting to consider a business park in this location and we are still at an early stage.
“Once the planning process begins, we will appoint specialists to look beyond what is already visible to us and to residents.
“They will carry out surveys to understand how drainage works across the site and the risk of flooding in specific areas.”
A public consultation into the business park development is due to be launched this year.