Andrew Griffith, MP used Mayfield Market Town (MMT) to demonstrate what is wrong with the planning system and how it has blighted so many lives, for so many years, in his commons debate on Monday 7th September 2020. He questioned the current policy and new proposals in the recently published “Planning for the future” white paper and how they could detrimentally affect his constituency:
“The current planning system has a unique quality in that it pleases absolutely no one.”
He stated that well-meaning ministerial intent to address planning had been:
“Sabotaged by a mutant algorithm cooked up in the wet markets of Whitehall”.
He went on to explain that the algorithm was blind to geography and gave the flood plains on the rivers Arun, Adur, and Rother as examples. He gave Mayfield Market Town as an example of a proposed development of 7,000 houses being built in an area where:
“Locals know a large proportion of the site sits underwater for a large proportion of winter.”
The affordability ratio is a:
“False proxy for local needs, which would see Horsham District Council required to increase its housing stock from 55,000 in 2011 to 90,000 over the next twenty years when the birth rate is at best only renewing.”
He said we must stop top-down housing targets which encourage developers to propose large unsustainable developments and gave MMT as the perfect example where 27,000 residents in 17 Parishes have been blighted for 7 years dating from 2013. He recognised that LAMBS and the IPG has held 73 meetings, raised over £140K to fund barristers and commission expert reports and not a single elected person or layer of government in West Sussex has ever supported the proposed development.
He pointed out that West Sussex has achieved 97% of its housing allocation, providing more than 6,000 homes, and Albourne has already delivered 21 houses from its agreed 14% increase. He was keen to emphasise the importance of building on brownfield sites like Shoreham cement works before greenfields and asked for some of the £400M allocated to Mayoral authorities to be shared with non-Mayoral authorities.
He highlighted environmental concerns and talked about the green corridor from Henfield, Sayers Common, Cowfold and West Grinstead to the High Weald and how this is fundamental to biodiversity and the long term security of rare species.
Watch the full speech: