Public consultation ends 30th March 2020:

-61Days -7Hours -42Minutes -14Seconds

Who are LAMBS?

Locals Against Mayfield Building Sprawl is an action group set up to stop Mayfield Market Town’s proposal for a new development of 7,000 houses in pristine Sussex countryside. We consist of residents who live and work in the Albourne, Henfield, Shermanbury, Woodmancote and Wineham area.

How to Object

Public consultation period: 17th February – 30th March 2020.
  • In order to object to Mayfield Market Town you must respond to the draft Horsham District Local Plan by 5pm on 30th March 2020.

WATCH: How to Object to Mayfield Market Town

WATCH: How to Write your Objection to Mayfield Market Town

  • Horsham District Council need to establish a Plan that will allow private developers to build at least 17,000 (possibly as high as 24,000) new houses between 2019 and 2036 . They will do this with a mix of large “strategic sites” together with smaller development sites included those identified in the Parish’s local Neighbourhood Plans.
  • The Council have been working on this for 2 years and are now going to a public consultation between 17th February and 30th March when Parishes and individuals can provide views on the draft plan. The responses will be considered by all the Councillors and a final, revised plan will be taken for inspection by an independent Planning Inspector at the end of this year. The plan will then become effective in 2021.
  • Horsham District Council has included Mayfield Market Town (MMT) as a strategic site in the draft plan.
  • It is vitally important that as many residents as possible from Horsham & Mid Sussex object by responding to the plan. Every objection will count and every family member can respond separately.
  • You DO NOT need to be a resident of Horsham or Mid Sussex, anyone can object to Mayfield Market Town.
  • You should write about the key issues you feel will impact you the most and why you object to Mayfield Market Town.
  • If possible you should include the specific Strategic Planning Policies your objections relate to by using the information on this page.
  • You will need to register on the Horsham District Council website to upload your objection.
  • You can view the section of the draft Plan that references the Mayfield Market Town proposal here.
  • YOUR views will count. Don’t miss your chance. OBJECT NOW! 

DEADLINE: You must object by 30th March 2020

PLEASE NOTE: Once you have registered you will need to click: Respond by making comments on the consultation document.  You should then navigate to: Chapter 6 Housing (Key Questions) and scroll down to: Land at Mayfield – North East of Henfield,  finally, click Add Comment. 

You can also use the following URL: https://strategicplanning.horsham.gov.uk/consult.ti/LocalPlanReview/viewCompoundDoc?docid=10336756&sessionid=&voteid=&partId=10338164#doc_10336756_ID_11251284

If you are unable to comment online, you can download a postal comment form here.

What is a local plan?

A local plan is a document which sets out planning policies and proposals for new development. Horsham District already has a Local Plan, called the Horsham District Planning Framework or HDPF.

The Government requires HDC to review these plans every five years and a new Horsham District Local Plan is being prepared. When it is ‘adopted’ the Horsham District Local Plan will be used to help determine planning applications in the District.

Main Reasons to Object

Overview of what you need to know about the Draft Horsham District Local Plan and how the new town proposed by Mayfield Market Town LTD affects residents.
  • Mayfield Market Town is an opportunistic, developer-led plan to build 7,000 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.
  • 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 Blackstone, Cowfold, Wineham, Twineham and Albourne. The land is adjacent to the Adur – a tidal river.

View a map of the proposed site here.


Key Objections – Transport, Landscape & Flooding/Drainage

Land North East of Henfield (Mayfield) proposed by Mayfield Market Towns, page 82 in the draft Plan, view here.

  • Unsustainable – The proposed site for a new “market town” consisting of 7,000 houses is in open countryside within the parishes of Henfield, Shermanbury and Woodmancote, and adjacent to Blackstone, Cowfold, Wineham, Twineham, and Albourne; an area which has totally inadequate infrastructure for a development of this size.
  • Transport – No new access roads are proposed, there is no railway station nearby and rural bus services are sporadic. This means over 14,000 extra cars commuting on our small local roads. The nearest railway station, with services already operating at full capacity, is 7 miles away at Hassocks, meaning huge increases in traffic through Albourne, Hurstpierpoint and the Stonepound Crossroads.
  • Anyone travelling to Horsham or trying to access the A24 will have to drive through Cowfold or Partridge Green and West Grinstead, or through Albourne, Sayers Common, Wineham or Twineham to access the A23 and A272.
  • Both the Cowfold double mini roundabouts and the Stonepound crossroads at Hassocks are already key Air Quality Management (AQMA) sites; both would see considerable increases in air pollution from additional traffic levels.
  • Hurstpierpoint High Street and the Stonepound crossroads at Hassocks could see up to 5,000 additional commuter cars during peak hours, all trying to to reach Hassocks Station with its limited parking.

Learn more on transport and viability here.

Read the Transport report commissioned by LAMBS here.

  • Loss of Countryside/Ruined (Devestated) Landscape –The proposed new town would blight the views from Devil’s Dyke; destroying John Constable’s “grandest view in the world”.
  • The development is likely to have a significant impact on both daytime and night-time views to and from the South Down National Park (SDNP), damaging the SDNP’s International Dark Sky Reserve.
  • Local people will lose access to a large area of open countryside, criss-crossed by wildlife rich hedgerows, bridleways, footpaths and tracks with walks enjoyed by all. This will be replaced by 7,000 houses and & the developer’s version of urban green space.
  • “Red listed” species have been identified at the site, along with important wildlife corridors connecting the North and South Downs.

Learn more on the ecological impact here.

Read the Environment & Biodiversity report commissioned by LAMBS here, and the Landscape & Visual Impact report here.

  • Flooding Risk – Mayfield’s proposed site is crossed by three water courses including the River Adur, it is on low lying land and virtually all on clay which floods in the winter.
  • Communities to the south of the site already suffer severe flooding regularly (as recently as December 2019). Mock Bridge, Henfield, Upper Beeding, and Bramber will now be at greater risk from run off from 7,000 houses and all the associated hard surfacing – roads, drives, patios etc.

Read the Flooding report commissioned by LAMBS here.
River Adur at Sakeham Weir: https://riverlevels.uk/adur-shermanbury-sakeham-weir#.XklnHij7TD6

  • Undeliverable – As a result of consultation with landowners, LAMBS believe that Mayfield Market Towns LTD control less than 50% of the land shown on their plans, so it is impossible for them to deliver their targets, or deliver the promised facilities of the purported “Market Town”. This site should not be part of the HDC Local Plan.

Download the LAMBS land control map here.

  • Goodbye Henfield & Surrounding Villages – The villages of Albourne, Blackstone, Cowfold, Wineham, Twineham, Shermanbury, Woodmancote & Henfield would become suburbs of the new town, loosing their individual identity.
  • Plans to create new retail spaces means trade would be diverted from Henfield High Street and key tourist destinations, devastating the local economy. Mayfield’s plan for new leisure facilities will turn Henfield into a dormitory village.

Learn more on the impact on local communities 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.

Detailed Assessment

Horsham District Council have assessed the Mayfield Market Towns proposal for Site Suitability. This consists of rating a number of criteria as shown below from green – very positive impacts to red – very negative impacts with no mitigation. LAMBS disagrees with a number of these ratings and we explain why in this section.

The following analysis relates to the Site Assessment found at pages 83-85 of the draft plan, which can be viewed here. 


  • SP42 conflicts exist. The development fails to address the need to minimise the distance people need to travel as it is 7 miles from the nearest railway station and 4 miles from the already congested A23.
  • No improvements to local roads are planned and any works linking to the A23 would need to be agreed by Mid Sussex DC.
  • Major uplift in traffic significantly increases risks to all road users.
  • Mayfields assertion that the site would be “self-contained” are untested and unprecedented elsewhere in the UK.
  • SP26 is compromised with a likely increase in car traffic leading to a deterioration in air quality throughout the locality including two existing Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) in Cowfold and at the Stone Pound crossroads in Hassocks.
  • SP43 is breached as there is a lack of public car parking provision in the plans currently available.


  • SP29 re coalescence of settlements, surrounding villages of Albourne, Blackstone, Cowfold, Wineham, Twineham, Shermanbury, Woodmancote & Henfield would become suburbs of new town.
  • SP28 which states rural character of the countryside will be protected against inappropriate development.
  • SP30 as the development would damage views from and to the South Downs National Park and its dark skies policy.


  • SP31 is fundamentally compromised as insufficient weight has been given to the wealth of wildlife in a species rich environment which includes trees and ancient woodland.
  • Risk of pollutants, untreated effluent discharging into to the River Adur, its tributaries and the Adur Estuary SSI.

Archaeology/ Cultural Heritage

  • SP35 will almost certainly be compromised due to the many listed buildings and the historic settlement pattern.

Flooding/ Drainage

  • SP40 is totally compromised on this site which is waterlogged and in places flooded in the winter months.
  • The northern section of this site is in a Flood Zone 3 location and should only be considered for development following completion of a sequential test. There is no evidence that this has been undertaken.Grave concerns over the impact on both upstream and downstream communities due to surface water run off from a town together with sewage treatment disposal next to a tidal river.
  • Climate change impacts are likely to exacerbate the threat of flooding.

Climate/ Renewables/ Energy Efficiency

  • SP37 – the remote location suggests a negative impact from pollution, both traffic and water treatment disposal related.


  • There is no specific policy framework for a new settlement which makes criteria based assessment very difficult.
  • This location is not situated near to key employment centres in the District. It is difficult to see how developing this site represents a sensible strategic location for a new town which would fulfil the districts 20 year demand for housing in one place.
  • Whilst the Horsham DC rating reflects the ability to deliver housing numbers, it fails to reflect the costs and risks associated with creating the infrastructure for a new settlement.
  • The proposal breaches SP1, it is unsustainable development and SP2 as it is not development within an existing built up area boundary and SP3 because it does not represent expansion of an existing settlement.


  • Whilst land may be allocated for schools they cannot be built unless the Local Authority choose to do so.
  • At present senior school children in the locality benefit from free coach travel for their journey to Steyning Grammar. This means they travel independently to school without reliance on car journeys. If a new school was built this benefit would be lost and car traffic increased.


  • Whilst land may be allocated for a surgery it cannot be built and unless the CCG choose to do so. Attracting qualified practitioners is already a challenge.
  • Current health facilities located in Henfield & Cowfold are either close to or at capacity.

Other Infrastructure

  • Construction on this land presents major challenges. Weald Clay coupled with the high water table is subject to drying out and cracking in the summer months. We are advised that construction would require heavy and deep piling. This is evidenced by the fact that several of the rural properties have required underpinning.
  • This site presents significant challenges with six electricity pylons, a high pressure gas pipeline and offshore wind farm power cables present. This represents a major risk and costs for any developer.


With the current shift in consumer behaviours there is a concern that two retail centres are not sustainable.

Information Events

You can find out more about the Mayfield Market Town proposal at the following events. You will still need to object using the formal process outlined on this page.

LAMBS Public Meeting

13th March Henfield Hall 7pm. Andrew Griffith, Arundel & South Downs MP & Mims Davies, Mid Sussex MP will be attending alongside community leaders & planning experts.

Horsham District Council Drop-in Sessions:

Tuesday 25 February Henfield Village Hall, Coopers Way, Henfield BN5 9DB 4pm–8pm

Saturday 29 February Swan Walk Shopping Centre, Horsham RH12 1HQ 10am-4pm

Tuesday 3 March Ifield West Community Centre, 1A Dobbins Pl, Crawley RH11 0SZ 4pm–8pm

Wednesday 4 March  Beeson House, 26 Lintot Square, Southwater, Horsham RH13 9LA 4pm–8pm

Our Reports on Mayfield Market Town

You can download the reports commissioned by LAMBS and provided to Horsham District Council below:

Transport report – Download Here
Flooding report – Download Here
Environment & BioDiversity – Download Here
Landscape & Visual Impact – Download Here
Land Control Map – Download Here