Firstly we would like to wish all of our supporters a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We hope you have managed to enjoy the festive period in these extraordinary times. 2020 has been a year that no one could have imagined, but at last, it now seems a return to normality is on the horizon.
Looking back to March, it certainly feels like a very long time ago when hundreds of our supporters attended our Public Meeting during Horsham District Council’s Draft Local Plan Public Consultation. We heard from Andrew Griffith, Arundel & South Downs MP who reaffirmed his sincere opposition to the Mayfield Market Town proposal. In addition, we heard from Mims Davies, Mid Sussex MP who offered her support to our campaign. Pauline McBride, the proud and devoted founder of the Sussex Prairie Garden spoke about the heartache and anxiety MMT’s proposal has caused herself and her husband (Public Meeting video at the bottom of this article).
LAMBS ran an effective local campaign to raise awareness of MMT’s proposal and the need to object during the Public Consultation. During the campaign Andrew Griffith, MP raised Mayfield Market Town in parliament and the MMT proposal received an unprecedented 5,339 individual objections. In total 1,669 individuals and organisations objected to Mayfield’s plan. HDC said:
“It can be seen that most comments received on sites were objections and that Land North East of Henfield (Mayfield) received the most comments in total.”
LAMBS used funds generously donated by our supporters to commission expert reports on Flooding, Environment & Biodiversity, Transport, Local Economy and Land Control (reports can be found here). These reports, along with a Representation Report, were submitted to HDC during the Public Consultation as professional evidence demonstrating that Mayfield’s Plans are unsustainable and undeliverable.
Andrew Griffith, MP helped orchestrate a successful high-profile campaign against the government’s proposed algorithm that would have significantly increased house building numbers across West Sussex. Griffith said:
“I am pleased that we have seen off this threat and to have spoken out passionately in Parliament for the residents of West Sussex. We faced a disproportionate amount of housing development had these plans gone ahead.
Residents understand that we need new homes but numbers should reflect local need and be located where the infrastructure already exists or on brownfield sites, not our precious green spaces.”
Peter Freeman, founder of Mayfield Market Towns Limited was branded the “Enemy of the Locals” by the Daily Mirror, as the news of his appointment as chair of Homes England made headlines in local and national newspapers. Freeman resigned from Mayfield’s board of directors, but remains an equal shareholder in the company. LAMBS believed a clear conflict of interest had arisen and urged all of our supporters to write to their local MP.
Horsham District Council has stated that they are planning to consult on the final Submission Draft of the Local Plan (Regulation 19) from February 2021. You can view the timetable here.
In summary, it has been an eventful year, full of twists and turns in our fight against Mayfield’s plans. The global Covid-19 pandemic has made 2020 a truly unprecedented year. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our supporters for your continued support. We will keep you informed as our campaign continues into 2021.