So developers are raising the spectre of Crawley expansion throughout the Horsham district and are attempting to bully Horsham District Council by threatening that, if the council doesn’t agree to their plans to build houses west of Ifield, a planning inspector will throw out the new local development framework (County Times September 27).
This is the latest in a long line of ploys by the consortium of owners of the land west of Ifield and their developer partners to get the land designated for development.
However, they have ignored the fact that nobody locally wants to see development on this land and that a range of problems make the land unsuitable for development, particularly in the next ten years.
There are huge infrastructure problems, particularly transport and drainage and the local road network is totally incapable of accommodating the traffic that would be generated by the development of this land.
An independent study in 2009 showed that development of the land west of Ifield is unachievable in the period to 2026, partly because of the transport constraints, and the amount of investment required to provide the infrastructure probably makes development uneconomic thereafter.
In addition, a large part of the land consists of Ifield Golf Club, of which I am currently chairman.
The course has long been recognised as one of the best and best maintained in Sussex.
It is a haven for wildlife with deer, badgers, foxes and a range of small mammals as well as a wide variety of birds, butterflies and insects living there.
The maintenance regime is particularly designed to provide and maintain habitats for wildlife.
Unlike some golf clubs nationally, Ifield Golf Club is thriving with nearly 600 members.
Although the development consortium tried last year to convince HDC that the club supports their development proposal, the club is, as you might expect, totally opposed to the idea of building on the land, for environmental and other reasons and for the impact that it would have on the local community.
In your article, the consortium suggests that they could start building in 2015 and finish in 2025.
It is difficult to see how this could be achieved because the golf club holds a lease of the golf course land until 2022, so building on that land, which forms the major part of the proposed development, could not take place during that time without the club’s agreement, which is certainly not forthcoming.
HDC is well aware of the dangers of including undevelopable sites in its draft strategy and I am sure that it will ignore the implied threats of the developers in this case.
Chairman, Ifield Golf Club, Rusper Road, Ifield