A resident of Wineham was ‘horrified’ to discover her C16th Grade II family home could be on the High Street of a 10,000 home new town.
Louisa Rydon and her husband have lived in the Mid Sussex village for eight years, having moved from London to give their children the benefits of a rural upbringing.
And so it was with utter horror that she first discovered that according to developer’s plans published on a website, the track and by-way upon which her listed home is sited could become the High Street of a major new town for West Sussex.
Option one proposed by Mayfield Market Towns depicts a 10,000 new settlement dominating the land around Twineham and Wineham denoted by vast grey blobs.
When Mrs Rydon first viewed the website she said she was ‘horrified’.
“I was just really upset because no one had even asked us.
“No one had spoken to us.
“It just appeared on a map as part of the High Street.”
Since then Mrs Rydon has become an active member of LAMBS - Locals Opposed to Mayfield Building Sprawl - and is astounded by what she says is the ‘arrogance’ of the developers.
The thing that galls her the most is that they, like many others living in the extensive proposed development area, have never been approached by any representatives of Mayfield Market Towns.
“I’m just speechless,” she said. “It is extraordinary and arrogant that they feel that they can build on what somebody else owns.”
Mrs Rydon admitted that the company has spoken to others in the area, those with significant land holdings, but most homeowners whose lives would be irreparably changed should the development ever gain permission have not been directly contacted.
“At the end of the day we want to live here because it is where we chose to live, because of its rural character,” she said.
Referring to her home’s listed status, she added: “And this house can never go, so I suppose we will always live here.”
Sitting amidst charming oak beams dating back more than 500 years she added with good humour tinged with regret that her property would simply become ‘the coffee shop or curry house with character’ at the centre of a new urban sprawl.
Lee Newlyn, one of the four directors of Mayfield Market Towns, defended his company’s stance of not individually contacting homeowners who would be affected by his 10,000 home scheme.
He said: “We came on the scene pretty much in 2011 and 2012 and as soon as we possibly could not only indicated on the website what our plans were but we actually wrote to every parish council in the area and we said we are happy to have meetings with you and do a presentation about our proposals and you can invite whatever members of the public you wish to.
“If we are guilty of not going and knocking on each house, that in part was because we have not got a plan at the moment which shows precisely which properties are affected.”
No planning application is due before ‘early 2016’ stated Mr Newlyn.
However, from preliminary sketches of development options shown on the company’s website (see above) Mrs Rydon says she can clearly identify her property would be situated on the proposed High Street.
What do you think? Leave a comment below or email letters to firstname.lastname@example.org