Conservatives in Horsham and Mid Sussex have united in opposition to plans for a new market town in the area.
Mayfield Market Towns has been promoting a brand new settlement of 10,000 new homes on the border of the two districts for the last seven years.
However the scheme has not been included in any adopted local plan.
Conservative MPs for the area alongside district council candidates met on a site near Henfield on Saturday (April 27) where some of the new homes would be built to repeat their strong opposition to the proposals.
They argued that the new town would be unsustainable and claimed that even though Mayfield does not own or hold options on all the land required it are expected to submit plans to HDC early next year for 7,000 homes.
Nick Herbert, Arundel and South Downs MP, said: “Our local councillors have consistently voiced their strong opposition to the Mayfields new town, an unsustainable proposal which has never had a convincing case or council support.
“I will continue to work with Sir Nicholas, local councillors and LAMBS (Locals Aginst Mayfields Building Sprawl) to object to these plans and to protect this beautiful area of West Sussex.”
Sir Nicholas Soames, Mid Sussex MP, added: “Mayfield’s persistent attempts to build a new town and undermine our district council plans have blighted this area and caused enormous and justifiable resentment amongst local people.
“Once again our local representatives have demonstrated that opposition to Mayfield is not going to go away. Nick Herbert and I will continue to give our total and determined backing to the LAMBS campaign until this misplaced proposal is withdrawn.”
But Debbie Aplin, of MMT, said: “Mayfields is being promoted as a way of dealing with long term housing needs in Horsham, by providing much needed new homes alongside new roads, employment space, local facilities, schools and doctors surgeries - without creating strain on existing villages and towns.
“Horsham will be looking at its long term plan to address housing need over the next 20 years and as part of this, considering a range of options of which Mayfields is one. We’ll be engaging closely with communities to seek to address local concerns and shape the plans further later this year.”
Mid Sussex district councillor Anthony Watts-Williams (Hurstpierpoint & Downs) said: “Mayfield Market Towns proposals for a new town in the countryside, next to the village of Henfield and the South Downs National Park, lacking any infrastructure, and miles from rail links, is completely unacceptable.
“The developers have been turned down repeated due to the unsustainability of their proposals, but appear to be willing to blight communities indefinitely. This is completely unreasonable, and we cannot allow it to continue.”
Horsham District Council deputy leader Jonathan Chowen (Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead) added: “Mayfield Market Town continues to raise its unwelcome head with a pre-application agreement with Horsham District Council as the council considers hundreds of sites as part of its statutory review of its current local plan.
“These Planning Performance Agreements state that it is not legally binding or commit the council to supporting the planning application. The site is not allocated for development and cannot currently be supported in principle.
“Lynn Lambert and I continue to oppose this development as unsustainable in this very isolated and rural site which would have a damaging affect on the current community.”
Lynn Lambert (Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead) added: “I am totally against this area of West Sussex being built on. It is not a sensible location for such a large settlement and would be devastating for the surrounding villages. There are no transport links, the fields flood all the time, and people living on the land do not want to be forced to sell to Mayfield. I support more housing in the right place, but this area is unsuitable.”
Brian O’Connell (Henfield) added: “As the Conservative councillor for Henfield I have continually fought against overdevelopment of the village. This Mayfield proposal is wrong for the village, in the wrong place and the infrastructure cannot sustain this type of development. I will wholeheartedly fight against this proposal.”
David Coldwell (Upper Beeding, Bramber and Woodmancote) added: “The location is wholly unsuited to major development due to lack of infrastructure and lack of proposals to remedy this shortfall.”