Mayfields – sewage and subterfuge

Mayfield sewage problem

LAMBS has discovered that Mayfield Market Towns claims regarding its transport and drainage models are highly misleading and fundamentally not true.

Mayfields’ submissions to Horsham District Council are contained in ten documents amounting to hundreds of pages of protracted reports on housing numbers, transport solutions, drainage and other infrastructure.

However, despite the glossy presentation, LAMBS has discovered that some of the pivotal claims made in these documents, especially regarding its transport and drainage models, are not what they seem.

In one document titled, ‘Representation to the Horsham District Council on the Horsham District Planning Framework Proposed Submission,’ Mayfields states that:

Mayfields commenced the pre- application process for a planning application comprising up to 10,000 homes and 10,000 jobs in late 2013, and have been consulting the statutory infrastructure and service authorities since that time.

Yet, a spokesperson for West Sussex County Council which is the Local Transport Authority says:

“In order to provide detailed advice, the County Council would require the developer to formally request pre-application advice on transport matters and for the developer to produce a transport assessment. Although the developers have been encouraged to request this advice, to date, they have not chosen to do so nor have they produced a transport assessment.” (Read full text here)

Later in the same submission document Mayfields states that:

“In terms of transportation modelling, it is accepted by West Sussex County Council and the Highways Agency that the correct modelling assessment has been carried out and proposals are shown and are agreed for how the development will relate to the A23 and to other major roads in the area.”

Yet, the County Council Spokesperson makes it clear that WSCC has made no agreements at all with Mayfield Market Towns:

I would like to state that the County Council has not ‘accepted’ the developers’ assessment of the potential transport impacts of the Mayfield proposal nor has it ‘approved’ any proposed transport solutions to mitigate the impacts of the development. (Read full text here)

It would appear that Mayfields is citing the smallest communications with the authorities as a positive ‘consultation’ and is alluding to support and permissions that don’t exist.


Mayfields’ transport plans include a motorway style roundabout with a dual carriageway leading into Hurstpierpoint High Street, a guided bus along Gatehouse Lane Cul-de-Sac in Burgess Hill and a main access route to Horsham through Cowfold village.

The publication of these plans, along with statements which imply Mayfields has County Council support for the scheme, has caused anger and anxiety among local people who are familiar with the area.

In another of Mayfields’ hefty submissions, ‘Appendices to Deliverability and Masterplanning options for New Market Town’, the developer alludes to agreements with Southern Water and the Environment Agency over plans to pump all the sewage from Mayfields’ first phase of building to Henfield and Sayers Common.

This would involve waste water from 1,850 homes being piped to Henfield… and sewage from 1,000 more homes going to Sayers Common.

Mayfields claims that Southern Water and the Environment Agency have “confirmed” this initial phase could be “accommodated” by existing water treatment works.

raw sewage flooding gardens

Yet it is well documented that both villages have a long and troubled history of waste water and flood water drainage; with incidents of raw sewage flooding gardens and backing up into people’s toilets. Neither village has capacity to cope with its existing population with many homes still on private septic tanks. In 2010 the Horsham District Council Infrastructure Study judged the Henfield Waste Water Treatment Works to be at full capacity. Since then permissions have been granted or are pending on up to another 460 new homes in the village. Sayers Common is also at capacity:

“the existing sewerage system does not have capacity for any more homes,” says local resident, Judith Marsh “especially given the surface water flooding issues that exist in the village. I truly believe that the developer should be fined every time they produce documents that are misleading, inaccurate or untrue.”

[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]Nick Herbert MP wants to reconvene a top level drainage meeting to tackle on-going flooding problems in Sayers Common – where part of a new town is proposed, see Mid Sussex Times.[/box]

On closer inspection of Mayfields’ submissions, it is clear that its argument is based on nothing more than a series of preliminary phone calls and email exchanges with Southern Water and the Environment Agency, mostly last summer. No formal plans have been drawn up, everything is discussed ‘in principle’ and a Senior Southern Water Engineer makes it clear that ultimately any decisions on waste water proposals would be made by Southern Water and Ofwat, not by Mayfields.

Throughout its submissions, Mayfield Market Towns assumes an attitude of authority; not only misrepresenting its own position, but also strongly criticising Horsham District Council.

Mayfields cites a long list of ‘failures’ it has found with the Council’s hard worked District Plan which is difficult to digest with the knowledge that these people are after all just speculative Developers – with no licence at all to meddle with local democracy.

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