In the third and final week of the Horsham hearing, the Government Inspector will be examining the Council’s decision not to include a New Market Town in its housing plan.
The Council will be defending its decision flanked by two MPs, LAMBS and two Parish Councils for the penultimate day of the Plan’s Examination in Public on Tuesday.
Government Inspector, Geoff Salter has spent the past two weeks listening to evidence on housing numbers and on suggestions for alternative sites which are not already in the District Plan.
Around 20 developers have been asking for an increase in planned new house building in the District, whilst parish councils and the CPRE have been asking for less. Mayfields has put in by far the largest claim urging the Inspector to increase the numbers by more than 50% to accommodate a new town.
On Tuesday morning the Inspector will be considering Matter 16: ‘New Market Town’. Mayfields has submitted hundreds of pages of documents hoping to convince the Inspector that its proposal is a viable option.
Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames and South Downs MP Nick Herbert both strongly oppose the plan and have been given special permission to speak against Mayfields at the hearing.
The LAMBS team will be fronted by its Landmark Chambers barrister, Richard Turner, supported by evidence from planning consultant, Richard Walker; Wildlife Splash Ecologist, Jackie Thompson and drainage expert, John Donaldson. Together they hope to prove that the plan is unwanted, unsustainable and undeliverable.
Mayfields’ case suffered a setback last week when The Airports Commission released an analysis of the three options for future airport expansion in the UK.
In its submission to Horsham District Council, Mayfields has cited a possible Gatwick expansion as a justification for higher housing numbers. However, according to the Airport Commission’s report published on November 11th, even if a second runway was built at Gatwick this would not require a great number of new houses:
“The demands on any individual local authority are likely to be relatively small,” says the report. “For example, if we assume these properties are provided over a 10 year period (2020-2030) and split evenly across the 14 local authorities, then the additional housing need for each LA would be only 130 houses per year at the highest end of the range.
“There are also many reasons the additional housing required is unlikely to be as high as these figures, depending on assumptions about population growth, net migration, unemployment and commuting. For instance the relatively high unemployment figure in Crawley could lead to a situation where many of the jobs are filled by people who already live in Crawley, and so fewer new homes would be needed”
The three week hearing will end on Wednesday but the Inspector is not expected to issue his report for some weeks.