This week Sir Nicholas Soames, the MP for Mid-Sussex, and I appeared before the Planning Inspector in Horsham who is assessing Horsham District Council’s local plan.
We wanted to express our dismay at the attempts by Mayfield Market Towns to build a new town of 10,000 houses between Henfield and Twineham.
I pointed out that Parliament had clearly intended that decisions should be taken by local communities through the Localism Act, as the Planning Minister confirmed only last weekend.
Neither Horsham nor Mid-Sussex District Councils support the new town plan, and in fact an earlier report commissioned by Horsham, Crawley and Mid Sussex District Councils ruled out a new town in the proposed location as unsustainable.
The Mayfield new town would be built on open countryside, effectively destroying local villages, in an area prone to flooding, and where there is no railway link. The developer’s claim that the majority of people would work in the new town itself is clearly nonsense.
As Sir Nicholas Soames pointed out, the Mayfield idea simply does not accord with the Government’s policy for new towns, which is that they should be brought forward with local consent.
I congratulate the work of Locals Against Mayfield Sprawl, LAMBS, the group which is so effectively opposing this awful idea, and Sir Nicholas and I will continue to give it our strong support.
I hope that the Inspector will see the flaws in the Mayfield new town idea and reject the proposal.
This Sunday I will be joining a walk and rally organised by the Villages Action Group against another major development which is being proposed between Barnham and Eastergate.
I have consistently opposed this proposal. I don’t think that a 2,000 house new settlement, which will create a new suburban conurbation and destroy the green gap between the separate villages, is right.
It’s not a fair distribution of new housing in the Arun district, it’s opposed by the local parish councils, and the A29 relief road which it is intended to fund is not viable.
I recognise that this is a different situation from the Mayfield plan because the former is opposed by local district councils whereas the Barnham-Eastergate plan was narrowly agreed by Arun District Council.
Nevertheless, the local communities affected have good grounds to oppose this unsustainable development, and I will continue to stand by them.
If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or e-mail me at email@example.com.