Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Mayfield Market Town proposal?
Mayfields is an opportunistic, developer-led plan to build 7,000 to 10,000 houses on the Sussex Weald which has been rejected by our local Parish Councils, District Councils, MPs and residents, and was deemed “unsustainable” by a Planning Inspector – but 7 years on, its four rich founders persist in blighting the lives of those that live in its shadow without democratic support.
Mayfields claim that 70% of jobs held by Mayfield residents will be on-site, so commuting won’t be necessary. We all know that existing train services from Brighton to London are at capacity, so promoting a commuter town would be much more difficult. Shops, schools, employment centres and health care are being promoted, but a developer can only provide the land, and local councils and health authorities have to deliver the services if a need is identified.
There will be no extra off-site infrastructure provided, such as roads; this is in an area that has grown organically over hundreds of years to support several small villages and not a large town. The town centre will be located on an existing B road, which would cause significant traffic problems both within Mayfield and the surrounding local area.
Where exactly is the area of land being proposed by Mayfields for their development?
The land is adjacent to the Adur – a tidal river, which is increasingly popular with Kayakers. Its tributaries, one of which is the Chess stream, is tidal as far as Henfield. The proposed Town will be visible from Devil’s Dyke, a popular recreational area within the South Downs National Park, and will be situated on pristine countryside within the parishes of Henfield, Shermanbury and Woodmancote. It is adjacent to Cowfold, Wineham, Twineham, and Albourne, and running through the site will be a high-pressure gas pipeline, electricity pylons and cables for the Rampion off-shore wind farm. It is also on a floodplain which is flooding more frequently since building expansion in Burgess Hill.
View a map of the proposed site here.
Who are Mayfields?
Mayfields was founded in 2012 by 4 wealthy and politically well-connected individuals who wanted to find a location in which they could build a “Garden City”. They are:
- Peter Freeman (64), Founder of Argent plc with his brother Michael who is the driving force behind the project
- Lord Jamie Borwick (65), Conservative Peer whose son Thomas is a Director of the Mayflower Residential subsidiary
- Lord Matthew Taylor (56), Liberal Democrat Peer
- Lee Newlyn (67), Senior Partner at Barton Wilmore until 2012.
Their main advisor is John Rhodes, OBE of Quod Consulting who was the author of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework in 2011, and Chaired the Government’s expert panel on accelerating the planning process in 2015.
Mayfields consistently identifies a 2010 study by GL Hearn to justify their scheme. This study is almost 10 years old, was very high level (and low cost) and the new town proposal it considered was rejected by Horsham, Mid Sussex and Crawley Councils due to the infrastructure issues the report highlighted. This study identified the location of the current Mayfields proposal as land which is “highly sensitivity to change” and should not be developed.
They have harassed landowners to sign options for 7 years, and their promotion of a “New Market Town” has blighted residents causing stress throughout that period. Requiring Councils to consider and challenge their plans has also created considerable cost to the Council Taxpayer and local residents. In 2015 the Inspector at the Horsham hearing declared that the site was “unsustainable”; and in 2017 the Mid Sussex District Plan was approved which specifically excluded any consideration as it conflicted with plans for the Burgess Hill Northern Arc.
However, as unaccountable and wealthy individuals they continue to promote their plan and cause continuing anxiety despite the lack of support from residents, parish councils and MPs due to the scale of the proposal, its unsustainable and undeliverable location, and its impact on local communities. They are unable to explain exactly whom they are building for, as the Horsham Inspector felt it was unlikely to be suitable to support those who wish to live in Brighton – and Mayfields claim no-one will travel to work, it will be a “self-contained” community.
In November 2016 Clarion Group, a large housing developer became a partner, and in August 2017, Debbie Aplin was appointed Managing Director. Mayfields has purchased some property in the Sayers Common area at full market value; and have options (with a limited time to run) around Henfield. They do not have legal control over a significant part of the land they wish to develop.
Is LAMBS against all new houses in rural areas?
Absolutely not! LAMBS supports development of the necessary affordable housing, but believes in the right of local authorities to make decisions in a way that enables communities to thrive, and not in an area which offers Sussex such a great amenity.
You can find out more about the real solution to the need for additional housing in Sussex here.
Who should I contact to make clear my objections to the Mayfield proposal?
We recommend that you write to:
Lionel Barnard: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bramber, Upper Beeding and Woodmancote
Michael Croker Email: email@example.com
Roger Noel Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead
Jonathan Chowen Email: email@example.com
Lynn Lambert Email: firstname.lastname@example.org