Parking Mad!

“New Brighton Park-and-Ride could come to Albourne” – Or at least that is what the local papers are saying. But the same papers also claim that Albourne is just “four miles” from Brighton, so it is clear that this story may have some very dubious origins!

The news has been met with astonishment by local villagers in Albourne and nearby Hurstpierpoint who say the scheme is “absolutely ludicrous.”

Q Leisure Park & Ride?
Will Q Leisure, on the border of the National Park, be concreted over to make way for a Park-and-Ride?

“The idea is madness,” said one local resident. “It can take an age to get down to Brighton from here! It is nine miles from my house to the Brighton Centre and there is no quick way by road – on some days the traffic is backed-up for miles. There is no bus lane and no short cuts, so passengers would just be sitting on the buses for hours – it would be much quicker to take a train from Hassocks.”

Park & Ride route to Brighton
Local residents in Albourne and Hurstpierpoint have described the Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance park-and-ride scheme as “absolutely ludicrous.”

Successful Park and Ride schemes like those operating in Oxford and Winchester are all located within four miles of the city centre. So, why would Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance be turning its back on these fine working examples and looking at a site nearly 10 miles away from the city centre? On the face of it there is no logical explanation… or is there?

Could Mayfield Market Towns have a hand is this “madness”? Here is the evidence:

Mayfields has always had strong connections with Brighton. Founding Director, Lee Newlyn may now live in Wiltshire, but he was Sussex based for many years and still spends a great deal of time in Brighton – often appearing at seminars and press interviews in the city.

The proposed new Park and Ride on the Q Leisure site in Albourne is just two miles south of the almost identical Park and Ride originally proposed by Mayfields at Hickstead. Discussions, which the papers say “have continued for more than a year,” would have begun at about the time that Mayfields was forced to give up its Hickstead plan.

The Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which appears to be the source of the new Park and Ride story, features heavily in Mayfields’ various submissions to local councils:

Mayfields “would contribute to the 100,000 jobs required by the Coast to Capital LEP,” the company stated in its Representations to Crawley Borough Council last year. “There is significant support for the Mayfields employment offer from the Brighton and Hove Economic Partnership as witnessed by their representations to the HDPF,” continues the same document.

Lee Newlyn, Mayfield Market Towns
Lee Newlyn, Mayfield Market Towns

At the examination of Horsham’s Modified Plan this summer it became clear that Mayfields has come to see Brighton as its ‘trump card’. The City’s “predicted housing requirement” has, thanks in no small part to relentless pressure from companies like Mayfields, now reached an impossibly large figure. This high prediction is based solely on a study carried out by London Property Consultants, GL Hearn – a company which, by a cruel twist of fate, also carried out the local council commissioned, ‘New Market Town Study 2010’, which inspired Mr Newlyn to set up Mayfield Market Towns!

This predicted housing figure would increase the size of Brighton and Hove by a massive 25% and is being challenged by many from both within and outside the city. However Mayfields is rubbing its hands with glee, because this ‘unmet housing need’ enables the company to challenge neighbouring councils like Mid Sussex and Horsham to accommodate some of this shortfall. Then, when they are unable to do so, Mayfields will step in to offer its new town as a solution “just over the Downs” – failing to point out that it is in fact an unsuitable, unsustainable, unsupported site, a good 10 miles “over the Downs”!

John Rhodes
John Rhodes, Mayfield’s planning expert.

Speaking at July’s Horsham Hearing, Mayfields’ planning expert and former government NPPF Advisor, John Rhodes said:

“Tens of thousands of homes identified in the evidence and the plans of adjacent authorities will be unmet.” He then directed the Inspector to look at Brighton’s Modified Plan which he said was “seeking a commitment from neighbouring authorities to participate,” and urged him to “send a clear message to each of these authorities to get on with working together.”

Mr Rhodes was one of four members of the government’s advisory group which created the NPPF reforms which are now planning law. In 2011 he wrote in the Guardian:

“It is silly to assert that the draft NPPF will provide developers a licence to build ‘anything wherever they wanted to’. The National Trust is saying the reforms will lead to ‘unchecked and damaging development’ spoiling the countryside, backed by the Telegraph’s campaign against “the threat of uncontrolled development.Those making that assertion have not read the document. The reforms retain planning authorities’ local plans at the heart of the system.”

His words now seem at best ironic… or at worst hauntingly insincere.

So, does Mayfields’ have a hand in the new proposals for a Park and Ride at Albourne, 10 miles from the city it would serve?

LAMBS has no documentary proof that it does, but this scheme has all the usual hallmarks of a company which appears to be very comfortable abusing the planning process to promote wildly illogical proposals. It is exactly the sort of scheme Mayfields would support… all profit and no logic!

A23 tailbacks into Brighton
Typical A23 tailback into Brighton but does Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance plans include a bus lane for their Park-and-Ride?


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. g hammond

    It is about time that these cretins ie; Newlyn, Rhodes & their cronies stopped interfering with local village life just to fill their own pockets due to incomprehensible greed, I understand they may propose the land near Albourne as their next abomination due to it’s location JUST north of the National trust limitations.

    These despicable people can see no further than expanding their ever increasing bank accounts to the detriment of anyone who dares to stand in their way, they think they can ride rough shod over anyone due to their financial backing. They are in the same league as politicians in my opinion as untrustworthy, lying, cheating turds !

    There is no concern for the countryside & even less for the people living there, they certainly don’t give a toss about the total disruption to people’s lives ! Albourne is & always has been 9 miles from Brighton unless they intend to move Brighton, whoever suggested that Albourne is 4 miles can be grouped as a moron just like the rest.

    A very concerned member of Albourne village

    George Hammond

  2. christine dean

    Park and ride for Brighton in Albourne > Utterly ludicrous

  3. Viv Buss

    I’ve just got home from a dog walk with a bag of sloes (for gin!) & a huge back of blackberries (for jam) – I like to think we live in the country. – that’s why we chose Albourne 43 years ago. When will these Mayfield people realise that’s why we all live here & drop their ludicrous ideas which no one wants & go away. A park & ride for Brighton 9 miles outside of the city is absurd. Of course there is a need for one but it’s got to be within 4 miles & not a 2 hours bus-ride away.

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