Planning role of market town director angers South Downs MP

JPCT 170912 Countryside east of Henfield. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 170912 Countryside east of Henfield. Photo by Derek Martin

The role of a director involved in new market town plans in drawing up new Government planning guidance has angered the South Downs MP.

During a public meeting in Storrington on Friday June 28 to discuss greenfield development, Nick Herbert, Conservative MP for Arundel and South Downs, raised concerns over what he felt was a conflict of interest.

Matthew Taylor is a director of Mayfield Market Towns, which is hoping to build 10,000 homes between Sayers Common and Henfield.

According to a letter sent by planning minister Nick Boles, Lord Taylor, a member of the House of Lords, is also helping the Government to review thousands of pages of technical planning guidance.

During the meeting Mr Herbert said: “In November I raised the need for infrastructure in developments where there is inadequate drainage, roads and so on.

“If you read the national guidance policy it’s quite good on what it says, but these considerations should be taken into account.

“I was told by the minister that I could go and meet the person who was reviewing the national guidance policy so that I could get in and make the points about the need to emphasis e adequate infrastructure.

“So I went to see this individual at the Department of Local Communities and Government, but I only discovered afterwards that the individual is one of the people behind Mayfield’s new town at Sayers Common, and last week Nicholas Soames and I complained formally to the Government that this was a conflict of interest. I don’t know how you can have someone drawing up planning guidance and stream lining planning guidance while being director of a company that would stand to gain should it be granted planning permission under the new system and I’m extremely angry about it.”

Lee Newlyn, director at Mayfield Market Towns, said: “Lord Matthew Taylor is one of our directors as well as being chair of the National Housing Federation and on the Board of an Eco Community in Cornwall.

“There is no conflict in his role helping us shape a new community in Sussex alongside his work reviewing Government planning guidance.”

Storrington meeting: page 42