Making the case against a new market town

On Friday I attended a packed meeting held in St Peter’s Church, Henfield about the proposed Mayfield new town of 7,000 houses to the east of the village.

500 local people turned up, reflecting the scale of residents’ concerns about the plan.  The church could not fit everyone in and many had to stand outside.

The meeting was convened by the local campaign group LAMBS – Locals Against Mayfields Building Sprawl and attended by local parish, district and county councillors. 

It was prompted because the developer, Mayfield Market Towns, just won’t go away.  For over six years they’ve tried to build a new town, trying to alter local plans.

Their tactics have included leafleting residents in north Horsham to tell them that they needn’t have housing there because their new town could be built instead.

The company doesn’t even have the options to buy all of the land they want to develop.  Some of the landowners are refusing to sell.  But that hasn’t stopped Mayfield.

I’ve seen an absolutely disgusting letter sent by the company’s agents to the widow of a landowner shortly after his death, urging her to consider selling her land.

Everyone recognises that we need more housing, but this is already being provided through significant developments elsewhere, including north of Horsham and Burgess Hill.  This new town has no local support.

There’s a case for building entirely new settlements to meet the demand for housing, but these need to be sustainable developments which have local approval.

This new town would not have a railway station, so inevitably thousands of commuters would travel by car to existing stations where access and parking is already completely inadequate.

In my speech, which you can read or watch on my website, I warned that it won’t be enough to protest about the new town.  A serious case must be marshalled against it, backed up by the best legal advice, which is why I’ve urged local residents to support the LAMBS campaign.

This development would also affect the Mid Sussex constituency, and at the meeting both Sir Nicholas Soames MP and I reaffirmed our strong opposition to it.  We have repeatedly raised the issue in the House of Commons and with ministers, and spoken at two planning inquiries.

Mayfield have blighted West Sussex for too long.  Their new town is unwanted, unnecessary and unsustainable.  It’s time they withdrew their plans.

You can find further information, including the highlights of my diary each week, on my website:


If you would like to get in touch with me, please e-mail me at