Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert and Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames have today (14 January) reiterated their opposition to the Mayfield new town proposal.
The MPs were reacting to Horsham District Council’s decision to enter into a planning arrangement with the controversial developers of the proposed new town.
Sir Nicholas and Mr Herbert have been united in their strong opposition to the proposal from Mayfield Market Town Ltd. The developers have been pushing their plans for a 10,000-house development between Henfield and Hickstead since 2013.
Last week Horsham District Council said that it has entered into detailed discussions with the promoters of large-scale developments, as part of the Horsham Local Plan review. The review includes a new a call for sites for both residential and economic development.
The Council has also confirmed that it has signed a Planning Performance Agreement with Mayfield Market Towns Ltd. The arrangement formalises the pre-application review and commits the council to assessing the information. It is understood that the Council is billing the developers for this work.
Sir Nicholas Soames MP said: “The Mayfield new town is a wholly unsuitable proposal which has been repeatedly rejected, yet this developer persists in promoting it. It is extremely disappointing that Horsham District Council have entered into an agreement with Mayfield, and will be accepting payment from them, as the developer obviously see this as a way of keeping their foot in the door."
Nick Herbert MP added: “By persisting with the Mayfield new town plan, in spite of having no local support, the developers are blighting the local area. They tried but failed to upset two local district plans, but clearly they are going to have another go. I have no doubt that local people will make their continuing opposition to Mayfield clear, including to Horsham District Council”.
1. Horsham District Council’s statement:
“A number of developers are promoting large scale opportunities through the Local Plan review process and are seeking detailed discussions with the planning department over the next few months. This is so that officers have all the necessary information on the deliverability of the sites to inform Members and the community as part of the decision making on the future strategy for the district.
"Mayfield Market Town is one such developer and the District Council has recently received a pre-application query from them. The request is for a formal opportunity for discussions which are intended to help planning officers fully examine the promoters proposals in greater detail. These discussions are a normal part of the planning process and are undertaken by Council officers on a 'without prejudice' basis.
"The agreement is called a Planning Performance Agreement. It is not a legally binding contract and it neither commits the District Council to allocating the site in the Local Plan review nor does it indicate that any future planning application will be looked on favourably. What it does commit the District Council planning officers to do is to consider the information submitted to them by the promoters of a site, in this instance Mayfield Market Town, and within an agreed time span.
"The Mayfield's site is not allocated for development and cannot be supported in principle as it is contrary to the adopted Local Plan. The Council will need to assess this site however, along with all others being promoted by developers, for potential inclusion in the Local Plan review. The Local Plan review preferred strategy is due to be published for consultation in autumn 2019.”