Fight against ‘New Town’ goes to No.10

Mid Sussex teenagers campaigning to protect the countryside from development, have presented a petition to their MPs and a signed card to No.10 Downing Street.

Thursday, 16th January 2014, 7:27 am

Imogen Watson, one of the teenagers who went to Number 10, said; “We started the campaign when we heard about Mayfield Market Towns’ plans to build a new town on countryside near our homes.

“We have all grown up here and feel very strongly that it shouldn’t be destroyed.”

“The card has been made using snowy pictures taken in the countryside at risk and is filled with signatures of young people from all over Mid Sussex who support our campaign.

The petition was originally handed over to Mr Herbert and Mr Soames at a meeting held at Adastra Hall, Hassocks in October.

The meeting had been organised by the Campaign to Protect Rural England with the support of concerned residents who are fighting Mayfield Market Towns’ proposals for a new town on 1,200 acres of countryside in the area around Twineham, Henfield and Sayers Common.

The possibility of a second runway at Gatwick together with a delay to the district plan have added to residents’ anxieties over a potential new town, which could take about 10.000 homes.

Mr Soames, the MP for Mid Sussex, and Mr Herbert, the MP for Arundel and South Downs, accompanied the teenagers to Number 10.

Both MPs have spoken out against Mayfield’s proposal, which involves a large swathe of land on a flood plain that is not close to a mainline station.

In an adjournment debate in the Commons last December, Mr Soames said: “We cannot allow the idea that the localism we promised, which local people supported, will be overturned at the behest of developers.”

Part of the Mayfield plan could involve a park and ride facility so that commuters could be bussed into Burgess Hill station, but the Brighton main line is one of the busiest in the UK and is already close to capacity.

Going with the MPs to Number 10 were: Camilla Ryan, 15 from Cuckfield; Holly Richardson, 15 from Burgess Hill; Imogen Watson, 15 from Twineham; Isabel Widdowson, 16 from Hassocks and Jasmin Watson, 19 from Twineham.