Site of possible 172 acre business park near Horley, on flood plain, over 2ft deep in water

Plans were announced in October for a huge, 172 acre, business park to be built just south of Horley. Reigate and Banstead Borough Council agreed in principle to use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) for a business park on the land off Balcombe Road. There is a lively local opposition group. Now a local teacher, Joanna Barnett, has posted a video of herself standing in 2 feet of water, and then in a small rowing boat, on the flooded land.  The land regularly floods, being part of a flood plain, helping to protect Horley. The teacher asks where that water would go, if the are is covered in concrete and tarmac. There are serious concerns that building in a necessary flood plain would make flooding in surrounding areas worse. The water can only drain away slowly into the Burstow Stream and the Gatwick stream, ultimately ending up in the river Mole. Mrs Barnett asks: “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.”  More than 3,200 people have now signed a petition railing against plans to create the huge business park. The local group,”Keep Horley Green” are campaigning against the development, which is on land categorised as a public open space. A consultation is due in 2016.


Horley teacher ROWS across flooded site of proposed business park

11 JAN 2016

 (Get Surrey)

Horley teacher boat

Joanna Barnett has branded plans for the 172-acre development on a flood plain ‘outrageous’

A video of a woman rowing across the site of a proposed 172-acre business park in Horleyhas 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.”

Google Maps
The proposed location for a new 172-acre business park in Horley

The Burstow Stream, into which the water would eventually drain, runs along the eastern edge of the site, along the red line boundary. See link to River Levels UK website that shows nearby rivers and streams


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.


A member of GACC commented: 

It’ll be wet there for ages although possibly not as deep as in the video (which was taken about 10 days ago).  The water flows to the Burstow Stream and the Gatwick Stream and eventually to the River Mole at a point NW of the airport. Current levels on all the watercourses are high but normal for this time of the year.


Horley business park splashing about

These amazing campaigners have been splashing around in the temporary lake, on the site where there is a planned 172 acre business park, just south of Horley. That is just north of Gatwick airport.

Horley business park sign the petition

Great video (one and a half minutes) of them splashing round in the water. Making the serious point – where would all this water go, if the land was covered in concrete and tarmac? and another video at

The water on the lake has nowhere to go because there is a high water table and Horley is built on clay. People are asking “why is Reigate & Banstead” building on a Flood Plain?

The petition against the business park being built there is at

The Keep Horley Green campaign is against the plans for the industrial estate:

They say:

Help us to #KeepHorleyGreen and help us petition against these plans!

Find us on Facebook @ Keep Horley Green.



Massive 172 acre business park planned outside Horley to produce a Gatwick airport city

Residents and businesses are shocked and appalled at news that Reigate and Banstead Borough Council  has agreed in principle to use compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) for a business park on 172 acres of land off Balcombe Road, in Horley. That’s equivalent to 85 football pitches. The council says major international businesses want to move to the area. Residents who would be affected say they knew nothing about the plan in advance. Green Party Surrey County Councillor Jonathan Essex said the development would use up green space, which separated homes in Horley, from nearby Gatwick airporta and “Horley should be a separate town, not just part of the urban sprawl of Gatwick.” A local Conservative councillor said information about the plans could not be made public previously because it was “commercially confidential” andt that “Now we have made the decision we will be talking to and consulting with residents, employers and landowners who could potentially be affected.” There is now a campaign called Keep Horley Green, to oppose the plans. They have a Facebook page and a petition to local MP Sam Giymah. People want green countryside preserved, rather then being covered in concrete. One of the properties under threat of compulsory purchase is Bayhorne Farm, 72 acres.  172 acres is a vast area for a business park – far larger than average.  It would become an “aerotropolis” project.