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"Mayfield is selling castles in the sand" says CPRE Sussex Trustee

Friday, 17 January 2014 15:29

2013 public meeting in opposition to Mayfield 2013 public meeting in opposition to Mayfield

Responding to a recent article by Mayfield Market Towns director Peter Freeman, CPRE Sussex Trustee Michael Brown has blasted Freeman's company as "a development company that is selling castles in the sand" in the Mid Sussex Times, on 16 January 2013.

Peter Freeman's article was intended as a response to the recent debate at Westminster on 3 December 2013, when local MPs Nicholas Soames and Nick Herbert voiced their strong opposition to plans to build to build 10,000 homes in the countryside between Henfield and Sayers Common. 

Pointing to the local demand for affordable housing, Peter Freeman attempted to argue that Mayfield's new homes will: "meet the demands of local people". 

Michael Brown points out out that Mayfield's understanding of what local demand will be is not supported by either Horsham nor Mid-Sussex Councils. The housing provided by the scheme far exceeds the housing targets set by those councils. "Mayfield wants to build twice as many houses as our elected councils think necessary," writes Brown.

With market town-style housing values exceeding local average prices, Brown also casts serious doubt whether such a development can make any significant contribution to the demand for affordable housing for local workers. "Like any developer," says Brown, "Mr Freeman is in it for the profit he can make and would doubtless sell his company's new homes for as much as he could persuade people to pay."

The article also reiterates CPRE Sussex's opposition to the development on grounds of sustainability, its impact on local communities and the unsuitability of much of the floodplain land earmarked for the scheme. Furthermore, the CPRE Trustee once again calls into question the probity of government planning advisor Lord Taylor remaining on the company's board. "It is extraordinary that this patent conflict of interest is being allowed to continue."

Read Peter Freeman's original article and Michael Brown's response below. 

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