Mayfield Director hits out at local democracy – but misses shortlist for Wolfson prize.

Mayfield Market Town’s ‘vision’ for a Garden city in Sussex has failed to make today’s shortlist for the much publicised Wolfson Prize.

The prize was created by the Conservative Peer, Lord Simon Wolfson, as an incentive to find the best way to deliver ‘a new Garden City which is visionary, economically viable and popular’.

Mayfield Director, Peter Freeman entered the competition in March, with an 83 page document championing a Garden City of 10,000 homes on 1,000 acres of land. His model is notably short of the Government’s published ideal ‘which is locally-led, includes at least 15,000 homes and has the backing of existing residents’.

[button link=”” size=”large” style=”info” bg_color=”#ffffff” text=”dark” window=”yes”]Support for locally-led garden cities[/button]
His submission, titled ‘A Shared Vision’ does not mention Mayfield Market Towns by name, but refers to a location about 50 miles from London where, Mr Freeman says, he is “confident” of success:

We are at the early stages of promoting a Garden City in a location about 50 miles from London. In due course, we are confident that we will succeed because of the underlying need arguments and the advantages of a comprehensive, planned Garden City over many add-on schemes.”

“However, in the short term, Councillors are unwilling to engage, given their interpretation of the Localism Act as releasing them from an obligation to meet need. It would be more fruitful for all stakeholders, local residents, future residents, businesses and the Council if we could be building a shared vision at an early stage. We hope that the Wolfson Prize will help all stakeholders see the merits of Garden Cities as a solution to the Housing Crisis.”

And, in contrast to the much feted Localism Act, Mr Freeman goes on to imply that Garden Cities should be Nationally led:

“We see this as a National challenge, requiring some form of Government action,” he says “– just as the investments following the post-war New Towns programme was part of a national effort.”

Amongst the many pages of financial and economic predictions, Mr Freeman also touches on the subject of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) and monetary compensation for local residents. The solution, he says, is to offer;

A simple, modest compensation to ordinary residents who feel their lives have been adversely affected… even though the new amenities and extra demand from new residents may increase the value of their homes.”

And on the subject of Compulsory Purchase Orders, he states that;

“The existing owner should receive as a minimum the full value (excluding any hope value) prior to the permitted change of use of any land acquired by CPO or threat of CPO.”

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Despite the length of Mr Freeman’s submission, the vast swathes of countryside which would be affected by this development are mentioned only briefly, in a paragraph just twelve lines long:

“The countryside,” says Mr Freeman, “makes a vital contribution to Britain’s heritage, leisure, health, food production, tourism, ecology and overall sense of well-being”.

Mr Freeman’s current position as Director of Mayfield Market Towns is omitted from the report.
The Wolfson competition judges shortlisted five entries – the overall winner will receive £250,000. Mr Freeman’s submission failed to reach the shortlist but won a £1,000 commendation for his ‘wide range of ideas on securing popularity’.
Peter Freeman’s full report can be seen here: [button link=”” size=”large” style=”info” bg_color=”#ffffff” text=”dark” window=”yes”]A Shared Vision[/button]

Extract from a ‘Shared Vision’. Prepare to be patronised!


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. John Howie

    83 pages of unadulterated drivel, liberally interspersed with dollops of HR/PR ‘yukspeak’.
    What is astonishing though, is the staggering arrogance of people such as Peter Freeman, who obviously feels he can steamroller all local sentiment and impose from on top his craven, grubby money grabbing scheme. This is so patently obviously about Mayfields, that anyone who thinks otherwise is naive in the extreme.
    Peter Freeman’s disparaging, verging on the rude, observations on our local planning Councillors should be a wake-up call to them as to just the sort of people they are dealing with when it comes to large developers.
    He obviously finds us locals tiresome, irksome and pesky pond life, and the fact that he has already blighted hundreds of homes with the threat of his plans matters not a jot to him.
    One of the major, and much trumpeted aspects, of the Government’s ‘Garden City’ proposals is that they should be supported from the ground, local resident level upwards, through Parish, District Councils etc. Peter Freeman has not a jot of support, indeed vociferous opposition, yet still he is trying to impose his will, by using all his friends in government to force this through. All locals really need to wake up to this and fight it tooth and nail, and now. Not when Planning Applications go in, it’s way to late then.

  2. J Springs

    I have spoken to Lee Newlyn (Peter Freeman’s right hand man) in person.
    He told me the problems to the local area that would be caused by Mayfield are not his concern.
    All he wants to do is get outline planning permission and sell the land on to volume builders.
    Any mess left behind won’t be his problem.

  3. Barbara Duggan

    Let Mr Freeman and cohorts come and speak to people of all the villages, Mayfields want to destroy, in person. Perhaps, and it is a big perhaps, they might get the message that their development is too big, not needed,not wanted and you do not build on a flood plain.

  4. Langley Johnson

    Carpetbaggers and snake oil salesmen clearly. The villages and small towns of Sussex have taken hundreds of years to develop as sustainable communities; enabling speculative builders to plonk swathes of suburban houses in the countryside creates neither town nor community.
    Take the profit and run, but pretend you are contributing to the public good if you are Freeman.

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