New market town ‘not required in current circumstances’ - planning inspector

Looking to Twinham from land at the proposed Mayfield site. Pic Steve Robards ENGSUS00120140702053823
Looking to Twinham from land at the proposed Mayfield site. Pic Steve Robards ENGSUS00120140702053823

A new market town between Henfield and Sayers Common is ‘not required in current circumstances’ - according to a planning inspector.

Inspector Geoff Salter scrutinised Horsham District Council’s local plan in November and has suggested in his initial report at least 15,000 not 13,000 homes should be planned for up to 2031.

Mayfield Market Towns has been lobbying for the site to be included in the plan in the face of widespread opposition from residents through Locals Against Mayfield Building Sprawl (LAMBS), councillors, and MPs.

But Mr Salter said it was up to HDC to decide how best to revise its housing strategy, and considered a new settlement was ‘not required in current circumstances’.

In his report released today (Friday December 19) he said: “At present, to my mind significant concerns have been raised about the sustainability of the location of the MMT site, in particular its distance from railway services and the strategic road network and the potential usage and viability of the ‘park and ride’ proposals.

“The deliverability of the preferred 10,000 dwelling option, with employment development, within two local authority areas without their support, and in the face of strong opposition from two local MPs, parish councils and local people, including land owners, is also an issue of concern.

“The scheme for just half of what the promoters ideally prefer in Horsham district alone would appear to dilute the fundamental concept and raises further uncertainty about delivery.”

He added: “I consider that the very significant increase in the amount of development involved in the MMT proposal is not required in current circumstances.”

Anthony Watts Williams, founder of LAMBS, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the inspector has recognised that the site proposed by Mayfield Market Towns for their ‘new market town’ is completely the wrong location for development of that scale.

“He acknowledges the lack of sustainability of the site, and notes the scheme is not supported by local MPs, district and parish councils, local people or landowners.

“This support is essential, and a fundamental part of the NPPF when planning for a new settlements of this size.”

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