Mayfields Brighton Embarrassment

One of Mayfield’s Directors has received an embarrassing rejection in his efforts to promote his new market town as a solution to Brighton’s housing needs.

Last year a member of Brighton’s Green Council told LAMBS; “The green party would never agree to building on a sensitive wildlife site – and building on a flood plain is daft”.

But this fact has not deterred Mayfields Director, Lee Newlyn. Earlier this week he unsuccessfully pitched Mayfields’ proposals at a Construction Voice forum titled; ‘Meeting Housing Needs in Brighton – Building In, Up or Out.’

Mayfields Director, Lee Newlyn, pitching his vision at Construction Voice attended by many of Brighton’s leading property development companies. (CV images courtesy Simon Callaghan Photography )

His ideas were voted the least popular option with a show of just four hands in an audience of more than 100 of the City’s construction elite.

This is Mr Newlyn’s second embarrassment at a Brighton property seminar in less than a year. In December he hit the headlines for suggesting that golf buggies could be used as an answer to Mayfields’ transport problems.

At the time he told an audience of Women in Property that;

Caption goes here
Mayfields electric buggy solution.

We’re not building cars out of the model; we’re simply providing other services that give a choice and hopefully a better choice for people to use. We did at one stage look at the American model where they actually have golf carts, effectively buggies electronically, which can shift over fair distances at 35mph, which would actually run on separate tracks up to the station.


The story was reported in the Argus and the Mid Sussex Times.

This week’s seminar sought to establish the most sensible solution to Brighton’s growing housing need of between 13,200 and 24,000 new homes by 2031. The debate focused on four options: building on urban fringe sites; building high quality high-rise buildings; keeping the status quo or building on green fields over the South Downs.

caption here
Mayfields Director, Lee Newlyn.

The event began with experts discussing the merits of each option and before opening up the debate to the audience.
Introducing his proposals, Mr Newlyn explained that he would not be giving details of the scheme because Mayfields’ plan was due to be revealed at the Horsham Hearing next week. However, he went on to claim that his company controlled enough land and crucial access points for it to be viable. He also claimed that Mayfield’s remoteness from the railway line was intentional to avoid it becoming a commuter town.

Mr Newlyn was then questioned about Mayfield’s sustainability, drainage and transport issues and criticised for his “uninspirational” affordable housing.

Devil's Dyke caption here.
Paul Zara, a Director of Conran and Partners, concluded his presentation with a powerful image of the South Downs stressing the importance of preserving the countryside from development.

A vote taken at the end of the debate showed that by far the most popular solution for Brighton was ‘Building Up’. This concept was presented by Paul Zara, Director of Conran and Partners, who received a round of applause for his innovative ideas which avoided building on the countryside and preserved the beautiful views from the Downs.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. Paul Crowe

    Excellent! In theory, a developers forum should be the most fertile environment in which to float these plans, yet even hardened people in this profession can see the huge flaws in this barmy, greed-led, proposal. What is important to focus on is that no one is saying that more development isn’t needed, which would be equally stupid, but that the agreed needs can be met by various other, sane and sustainable, models that deliver social and economic value today, and for our future generations.

  2. Debra Shakespeare

    Let’s face it, I’m not surprised the ‘building up’ option was the most popular. If you want to solve the housing crisis in a city like Brighton and Hove, the people there want a solution that will allow them to live in the city!

    Unfortunately a paltry 4 votes won’t deter the greedy backers of Mayfield. They’ll only be happy when our countryside is ruined and their pockets are lined with filthy lucre

  3. Linda Morgan

    This is corruption and greed versus our countryside. How can a government planning advisor line his own pockets by pushing through planning on the amazing South downs and environs? They are our jewels and we intend to keep them for our appreciation and that of future generations. Mayfield take your greedy vile ideas and leave us alone here. Today I walked my dog on the Dyke – s shown in that photo, it was stunning. We all live and work together in this special country community in mutual support of this wonderful environment. WE DONT WANT YOU NEAR US MAYFIELD. GET the message.

  4. A Walker

    Having followed with interest the continuing fight by LAMBS to see off the regressive, and frankly laughable scheming of Mayfields in trying to impose a Crawley 2 (but without frills) on the beautiful South Downs, I never cease to be astounded by the way some people behave, particularly the Directors of Mayfields. They are either nothing like as bright as I’ve given them credit for, or they are just so thick skinned and greedy that they don’t care a jot what anyone thinks, all that matters is the filthy lucre.

    With this latest massive embarrassment for Lee Newlyn, in getting only 4 votes for his Mayfield scheme amongst the attendees at a Brighton Developers Symposium, at what point is he finally going to admit that the Mayfields scheme is a completely busted flush? The really sad thing is that he, Peter Freeman et al know it is, but now I’m guessing pride has got in the way of good business sense. Indeed some of the Mayfields point men (ambassadors would be a misuse of the word) have been quoted as saying ‘Peter Freeman always gets his way……’ Over the last year or more, it has been becoming increasingly clear that Mayfields has become a total non starter, and now it has had the ultimate put down from fellow developers.

    Now apparently Lee Newlyn is arguing that Mayfields should purposely be built away from a railway line – was it not six months ago that he was arguing for a Park and Ride scheme at Hickstead to ferry people to Burgess Hill, Hassocks and haywards Heath railway stations? Wish he would make his mind up!

    What is also clear, and Mayfields know this, is that the only way their scheme will ever get the go ahead (seeing as virtually every resident, body, group and Council locally is against it) is by imposition from the Government, via the Planning Inspector. Again this throws the spot light on the rank dishonesty of the NPPF and Localism Act. Is it any wonder that David Cameron and the Conservatives are becoming so unpopular – it is high time the arrogant Westminster elite woke up.
    As to being NIMBYs – quite the opposite. It is a widely accepted fact that more houses need to be built, in fact many of the small villages could do with a bunch of extra houses to bring them to life, including mine! But let’s let our elected representatives on our local Councils make these decisions, not a bunch of arrogant, faceless developers whose sole intent is to make money, and damn those whose lives they are wrecking. Democracy has come to a sorry pass when it can be so blatantly bought.
    Let’s hope the Planning Inspector makes the correct and honest decision at the upcoming Horsham District Council Planning meeting.

    A. Walker

  5. J Springs

    Lee Newlyn doesn’t care. He told me so himself. And as far as the infrastructure problems are concerned, he said it wouldn’t be his problem once he had sold the land on to developers.

  6. J Springs

    Please keep asking friends and neighbours to give money to LAMBS to pay for the LAMBS barrister in November.

    Now is a critical time – the inspectorate who will decide if they get planning or not, in the appeal THIS MONTH will also be from outside Sussex and may not care about preserving our villages / countryside / county’s identity so we will need to fight fire with fire to keep this slimy man and his greedy little friends (all from outside Sussex) at bay. If the inspectorate allows Mayfield to go ahead it will be game over.

  7. Kenneth McIntosh

    Local Authorities undertake consultations with developers and interested parties when considering options for meeting local long term requirements. This has been a way of proceeding with meeting the requirements for sustainable homes. Now Local Authorities have to try harder under the principles of Localism, as embodied in the Act of Parliament 2011, to balance the myriad of needs of those who work and live locally. It has strengthened the weaker voices of citizens against those of the mighty via the private wealth of Corporations. Local voices are informed and united in rejecting this new town proposal and wise in their desires to continue protect for future generations the uniqueness of the Sussex Weald. It bodes well that these voices have coalesced their thoughts into “evidence” to be heard at “court” and I hope whatever weights and measures the Planning Inspector uses, they are as sensible as those used by common folk. I am glad that the CPRE and similar volunteer-run bodies exist and are with us on this one.

  8. L.T. Tucker

    It’s very interesting reading the previous letters, and indeed the history of LAMBS postings. If it’s true, and I have no reason to doubt it, what J Springs quotes Lee Newlyn as saying…..

    ‘Lee Newlyn doesn’t care. He told me so himself. And as far as the infrastructure problems are concerned, he said it wouldn’t be his problem once he had sold the land on to developers’…..,

    This very neatly sums up the ‘moral bankruptcy’ of so much business today, and in particular, many developers, and specifically Mayfields.
    I don’t know how the Mayfields directors can look their children, and indeed their spouses in their eyes, when they are bulldozing (with the added connivance of our dysfunctional political system and politicians) local public democracy, and literally trying to bulldoze hundreds of acres of our wonderful Sussex Weald. All this being dressed up to meet housing need, when all it is is just a brazen money grab. Having googled Peter Freeman, he’s obviously worth a bob or two. So for what exactly is he saving up? I’m guessing, as suggested by others, that this is just an ego thing.
    Would anyone know if there is any mileage in taking Mayfields to the High Court due to their proposed plan effectively destroying the local property market?

    There are many other more Spartan regions in the UK which could do with urban re-generation. Simply put, the South East is full. On top of this, Mayfields expressly refuse to address the fact that there are 62,000 Ha of brownfield sites, which would be much more appropriate areas on which to build. Let me hazard a guess that these would not be as profitable as greenfield building.

    Desperately sad to see the way some people behave today, and yet our politicians purport to hold such high moral standing. Hypocrisy at its worst. As for Mayfields, need I say more.

    L.T. Tucker.

  9. Jeannie Knight

    Mayfields have always seemed intent on bulldozing their way through greenfield sites like this, aiming to maximise profits with no regard to the environment or public opinion.

    A similar scheme several years ago was turned down thanks to a united public front, which showed that the population of this lovely area, and beyond, is intent on preserving unspoiled greenfield sites and will fight them to the bitter end. Rather that than cave in to a greedy developer whose scheme would destroy our precious countryside.

    Everyone needs to unite against this proposal and fight it to the end.

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