“WEST OF IFIELD – YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED” BY HOMES ENGLAND DEVELOPER + RESPONSES TO HOMES ENGLAND DEVELOPER

“WEST OF IFIELD – YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED” BY HOMES ENGLAND DEVELOPER

 

RESPONDING TO YOUR QUESTIONS – APRIL 1 2020 VERSION

HOMES ENGLAND
OFFICIAL
West of Ifield – Responding to your questions
Version 1 April 2020
Making homes happen

West of Ifield – Your questions answered

Homes England, the Government’s housing accelerator, is promoting plans for new neighbourhoods
which can provide 10,000 new homes over the next 30 years to the West of Ifield. These new
neighbourhoods create the opportunity to provide vital infrastructure to the area including new schools,
road improvements and community facilities.

In January 2020 we held a series of public engagement events to introduce our proposals and listen to
people’s ideas, concerns and aspirations. During and following these events we asked for your feedback
on the proposals. We received over 500 feedback forms and this document provides our current thinking
on the main questions and issues raised in this feedback.

As we hold further public engagement events, more questions and issues may arise, and our plans will
become more detailed. This document will be continually updated and uploaded to our website
www.westofifield.co.uk over the course of the planning process.

The Opportunity

1. How will Homes England work with the community to shape the proposals?
Ongoing community engagement is a vital part of shaping our plans. We want to create an
environment where everyone can have their say and genuinely inform our future development
proposals. We held a series of public engagement events in January 2020 and received feedback from
over 500 residents, we have compiled all the responses into a report which highlights what is important
to local residents the key concerns and opportunities to deliver wider benefits through the proposed
scheme.
We want to continue to actively involve and speak with the community; we will hold further public
engagement events later in the year subject to COVID-19 restrictions and continue this conversation
through the planning and delivery stages. In the meantime, we will be publishing more material
through social media and online at www.wesstofield.co.uk starting with the initial public response to
the consultation which is now online.
When possible we will restart face-to-face meetings and presentations and we plan to start up a
community liaison group that will be made up of representatives from across the existing communities
and those who might live in the new communities we are planning. We have already had discussions
with elected members representing the wards most affected by the scheme and will continue to
engage with your representatives throughout the process. Where possible, we also want to work with
local schools/colleges, heritage and civic groups, resident’s groups, faith groups, transport groups and
business groups to ensure that all perspectives and needs are considered throughout the development
of the proposals for the site.
If you have further thoughts on how we should engage and involve you and the wider community in our
plans for West of Ifield, please get in touch.

Design

1. How will you make sure that there is enough water and electricity for the new and existing
residents?

Water

We are actively engaging with utility providers to ensure the necessary infrastructure can be provided.
Southern Water has already confirmed that there is enough capacity to supply the West of Ifield
scheme and we will continue to work with them and Horsham District Council as part of a
comprehensive infrastructure planning process to ensure a sustainable water supply can be provided to
the larger Garden Town.
To help ensure there is sufficient water supply we will include a number of sustainability measures
within our plans to reduce the water consumption and maximise its reuse wherever possible. Potential
measures currently being considered include:
• Water efficiency measures combined with household education to improve water use. Water
efficiency measures could include water efficient fittings such as taps, dual flush toilets, low
flow shower heads and efficient washing machines.
• Using a rainwater harvesting systems to provide water for domestic use. Rainwater can be used
for non-drinking needs such as toilet flushing and gardening.
• The installation of a ‘grey water’ recycling system for water. This is water generated from
domestic processes such as washing dishes, laundry and bathing.
Electricity
We are actively engaging with utility providers to ensure the necessary infrastructure can be provided.
While we will include measures within the development to reduce electricity demand as much as
possible, a move towards cleaner energy and electric transport is expected to require an upgrade to the
electricity supply. We will work with UK Power Networks to identify the best solution.
In addition, we are also looking at opportunities to incorporate onsite electricity generation and smart
energy solutions. This will help reduce and manage future electrical demand and reduce the
dependency on the National Grid.

Living

1. How can you ensure that there will be affordable housing in the development?

a. What do you mean by affordable?

Affordable housing is homes that are available to buy or rent below market values. There is no
set price for affordable homes and there are a number of different affordable home products,
which include social rented housing, shared ownership, affordable rent and new products such
as the recently announced First Homes. We will work with a range of providers to ensure the
widest range of different affordable housing types are provided within the site to ensure as
many people as possible have access to the new homes.

b. Will this development be for Crawley or Horsham residents?

Affordable housing needs are identified in the North West Sussex Strategic Housing Market
Assessment (2019) which covers Horsham, Crawley and Mid Sussex. The exact requirements
will be confirmed by Horsham District Council through the preparation of their Local Plan
Review (2020 – 2036). We will work with Horsham District Council as the Local Planning
Authority and affordable housing providers to ensure that the identified needs are met.

Environment

1. How will the new neighbourhoods improve the environment and combat the loss of green
space?

Delivering new sustainable neighbourhoods is at the heart of our plans. We are committed to taking a
landscape led approach to development, protecting the most sensitive environments (including Ifield
Brook Meadows), ensuring at least 50% of the development is dedicated open space and that we achieve
a 10% net gain in biodiversity. We are exploring options for the long-term stewardship and community
ownership of opens spaces so that these spaces are protected in perpetuity.
Through the new buildings we are looking to ensure the design of the buildings helps protect the
environment by promoting energy efficiency, incorporating large areas of new landscaping and
‘greening’ and encouraging the use of sustainable transport modes. Wherever possible, we will look to
futureproof the design and layout of the built environment to ensure it can adapt to changing
technologies that could further help improve the environment in the medium – long term.

2. Will wildlife be protected?

We have undertaken a significant number of ecological surveys to understand what wildlife uses the sites.
Further surveys are also planned for this year when appropriate to do so and these will inform our plans.
Based on these surveys areas of key ecological value have been identified. This includes Ifield Brook and
Ifield Brook Meadows, Hyde Hill Local Wildlife Site and areas of ancient woodland. These areas will be
protected with appropriate “buffer zones”.
In addition, the surveys will identify key ecological corridors which are important to enable animals such
as bats to cross the site and move into the open countryside. The proposed development will safeguard
these corridors as far as possible, retaining key habitats and ensuring ecological connectivity is
maintained.
We will avoid significant impacts on protected species as far as possible. If it is possible that there could
be any effects on protected species, (such as bats, badgers or great crested newts), as a result of the
proposed development, then following planning consent (if granted) we will apply for a Natural
England licence under relevant separate legislation. This licence, which is legally enforceable, requires
that the developer undertakes suitable mitigation measures (such as undertaking works
at appropriate the required times of the year and under ecological supervision) as well as planting up
suitable new habitat to compensate for the impacts caused. By building at scale, we can ensure that
any compensatory habitat is provided on site as much as possible.

3. What does a 10% net gain in biodiversity mean?

Biodiversity net gain means ensuring there is more nature on site after development than before.
This requires assessing the biodiversity value of a site in its existing pre-development condition, then
the value post development. A 10% biodiversity net gain requires a 10% improvement in biodiversity
value over the existing situation following the development. This is determined by an independent
Natural England biodiversity calculation tool.
We appreciate that the idea of developing a site may appear counter intuitive to improving biodiversity
value. However, a site such as West of Ifield comprises a wide mix of greater and lesser areas of
biodiversity value. The areas of lesser value such as simple, species poor grassland can be enhanced and
improved by habitat management to develop into a species-rich grassland with far greater biodiversity
benefits. Further enhancement measures could include creating new ponds, woodland, wetland areas
or a whole variety of different habitats. This is the method used to ‘balance’ the biodiversity loss from
proposed buildings and roads on-site.
The approach to biodiversity 10% net gain will be agreed with relevant ecological groups and supported
by a long-term habitat management plan.

4. How can the development protect the land from flooding? How do you know that the
development will not make flooding worse?

We know that flood risk is an important issue. There are two types of flood risk we need to be aware of,
surface water flood risk and fluvial flood risk (also called riverine flooding) and these will be both be fully
considered as part of a site-specific flood risk assessment. We are already aware of a number of
potential flood risks and are taking the following steps to ensure they are fully accounted for within our
emerging plans:
• Fluvial Flooding – we are reviewing the Environment Agency’s flood mapping to ensure that
our scheme complies with planning policy requirements and takes account of climate change
impacts and will ensure that the most vulnerable development being directed away from flood
risk areas. By working with the Environment Agency and through our commitment to retain
50% of the site as open space, we will retain the existing flood plain area and maximise
opportunities to incorporate further flood alleviation measures within the scheme.
• Surface Water Flooding – there is currently variable surface water runoff across the site which
is uncontrolled. In some areas this has led to localised flooding on parts of the site where
surface water accumulates. As part of our integrated drainage solution, we will use sustainable
urban drainage systems (SuDS) to help manage this runoff, which in many instances will help
address existing flood issues.

Healthy Communities

1. Community infrastructure

a. It can be difficult to get doctors’ appointments already. What health services will be
provided?

This was an issue many people raised and one we are discussing with the relevant Clinical
Commissioning Groups. By delivering at scale and with more certainty about the location of
future population growth, it is easier for health providers to understand what the future needs
might be. While we cannot control how or where health services, we will ensure that where
needs are identified we will ensure we address the impact of the scheme – through the
provision of onsite infrastructure and / or necessary financial contributions.
In addition to addressing medical services, we will be designing the proposals in line with NHS
Healthy New Town principles – following the approach taken at our Northstowe scheme. These
principles include developing health services that will help people stay well, maximising active
travel, fostering health in homes and buildings and connecting, involving and empowering
people and communities. This will help future residents to stay fit and healthy – reducing the
demand on health services.

b. What education facilities will be provided?

As a minimum we will provide for primary, secondary and SEND education requirements arising
from the development as well as supporting opportunities to accommodate wider lifelong
learning. There is also a need for new schools within the Ifield area to serve the existing
community and we are working with education providers to identify opportunities to deliver
new education facilities early, in a way that can meet these wider needs.

Movement & Transport

1. 10,000 homes and 10,000 jobs will generate a lot of traffic.

a. How will you address this?

The proposals are for a new community to be built over 30 years – during which we expect the
way in which people travel to change dramatically. However, we recognise the existing issues
and immediate concerns of residents and are in the process of identifying opportunities as to how
the new development can help address these. Our plans will be informed by detailed transport
modelling and preparation of a Transport Assessment that will consider both the construction
and operational stages.
To promote the use of sustainable transport modes, the priority in the new neighbourhoods will
be to walk first, then cycle, then public transport and then use the car. This hierarchy will inform
the design of our scheme and infrastructure investment plan so as to ensure new residents are
not over-reliant on the car from the outset and we will prepare a site wider Travel Plan to ensure
these measures are successful.
Where necessary, we will ensure that any measures build on the success of existing transport
opportunities – such as the use of the Arun Valley Line and Metrobus Fastway – and are designed
so that they can adapt to future changes in transport provision.

b. When and how will the Western Link be provided?

Opportunities for a new Crawley Western Link are being considered. In line with our transport
strategy, we will ensure that we maximise the use of sustainable transport while helping to
address existing congestion issues. We will ensure that the Crawley Western Link can be
accommodated within the site and will work with WSCC and local authorities to identify an
appropriate delivery strategy for the scheme as a whole.

Working

1. You’ve said that you will create 10,000 jobs.

a. What type of jobs will be created by the development?

There will be spaces created for a range of jobs close to the new homes, including those in
schools, shops and community facilities as well as specific employment areas. There will be a
wide range of jobs created for flexible working to support modern lifestyles, including
opportunities for start-ups, smaller businesses and social enterprises. The site is strategically
located at the heart of the Gatwick Diamond, with strong links to existing employment centres
such as Manor Royal, Gatwick Airport, Horsham and Crawley Town Centre and the proposed
neighbourhoods are well placed to help support the future growth of these areas. We will work
with the Coast to Capital LEP, major employers and local economic development teams to
ensure the opportunities are realised.
By building at scale, the development will create a large number of construction jobs over a
long-time frame. In line with Homes England’s wider objectives to diversify the housing market
and promote modern methods of construction, there is also an opportunity for the
development to improve skill set of the local construction sector.

b. Will these benefit existing residents?

These new jobs are not limited to new residents, existing residents will also benefit from access
to new employment opportunities, both within the development and across the wider area.

If you have any further questions regarding the development or any queries about the information
provided, please do not hesitate to contact us:
• Telephone: 020 8629 7209
• Email: westofifield@homesengland.gov.uk
• Website: www.westofifield.gov.uk

We are still in the early stages of the proposal and as more information and details become available,
we will share this with you. As previously stated, community engagement is a vital part of this process
and we hope that this document has the answers to any questions you have.

 

 

RESPONSES TO HOMES ENGLAND DEVELOPER

I – RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE IFIELD SOCIETY

Ifield Society logo

Many questions were asked at your Homes England Exhibitions about the absurdity of your promises such as “10% biodiversity net gain” and “50% open space”  when you are determined to control, own, then build on Ifield Golf Course with its ancient woodland and wildlife. Where are those questions in this report?! Silence from you – no answer. The Ifield Golf Club question is the ‘elephant in the room’ – and it’s the “first stage” of your monstrous £3bn developer master plan

As for your promise to protest Ifield Brook Meadows, it is already protected – no thanks to you, but thanks to Crawley Borough Council’s designation as a Local Green Space (LGS) – and thanks to the late, great Geraint Thomas who fought so very hard – and for many years – to preserve the area.

I wouldn’t trust you as far as I could throw you.

It is recommended Crawley Borough Council and Horsham District Council urgently produce a Joint Area Action Plan [JAAP], designed to make the whole area of West of Ifield – ie the ancient Parish of Ifield – a Local Nature Reserve [LNR]. I see that as the only way to avert an environmental, social and economic catastrophe – primarily caused by you.

Richard W. Symonds

 

II – DAVID CHRISTENSEN – IFIELD

 

Hello Homes England,

Have just received the April update for “West of Ifield – Your questions answered”.

 

I will again take issue with – Environment item No 3. “What does 10% biodiversity mean“.

 This 10% NET gain will only occur on the remainder of the 50% green space (itself only 5% gain of GROSS and equivalent GROSS loss of 45%) after you reduce it by eliminating Ifield Brook and Meadows, as they are protected and therefore already inclusive (and hardly practical), within the 50% – H. E. statement reads “survey areas of key ecological value have been identified. This includes Ifield Brook and Ifield Brook Meadows”. This would indicate that Ifield Brook and Meadows are already at maximum diversity –  as if we didn’t know!

 This area is approximately 30 hectares, 25% of the total site of 120 hectares in the immediate vicinity (Note! Ifield Golf Course is not now included – I assume this will be identified in the next update), which leaves the 10% net gain on 25% remaining green space i.e.2.5% gain, or more definitively a NET LOSS of the whole site of 47.5%.

 I suggest the meaning should be reviewed to clarify exactly what the TOTAL area will LOSE when continuing to implying it will be a GAIN.

 Regards,

David Christensen.  – Ifield. Crawley

 

 

III – PETER AND IRENE WAKEHAM + VERA KING

 

 

Peter Wakeham – Ifield

“We will ensure that the Crawley Western Link can be accommodated within the site” – Homes England

Q.  This statement implies that you will leave space for this road in your plans; but you have no intention of building this road before starting to build houses 

Vera King – Langley Green

Q. If this development goes ahead, will you confirm all sections of the Crawley Western Relief Road [CWRR] will be built in its entirety before the first house is erected?

These were questions that we were going to raise at the meeting at the Elim Church Ifield on the 16th March 2020, which was cancelled by you. Could you now please reply to these questions.

Irene Wakeham – Ifield

Q. As you are promoting healthier life styles and great places to live may I ask why you think the public would want to live in close proximity to a noisy lung and heart damaging airport when Horsham has other healthier options to choose from?

Peter Wakeham  – Ifield

Q. With the closure of Rusper, Rookwood and Cottesmore golf courses in the future, if you acquired planning permission for this development on Ifield golf course will you be providing a new 18-hole golf course near to the original ?

[NB Both Rookwood and Cottesmore have better access to major roads than your proposed ‘West of Ifield’ golf course site]

In Crawley Borough Council’s Consultation Statement Draft January 2020, you [Homes England] stated: “Will be necessary to provide routes through Ifield Brook Meadow and Rusper Road playing fields which will require some form of physical development.

Q. Have you taken this request off the table, or are you still pursuing this ?