NOVEMBER 5 2020 – HOMES ENGLAND ‘WEST OF IFIELD’ UPDATE [HAT-TIP: ‘M’ and ‘I’]
We are still in the process of finalising the plans for new homes and supporting infrastructure at West of Ifield and there will be further consultation with the community in due course. As we stated during the initial consultation events, we will be protecting Ifield Brook Meadows where there will be no development. Homes England is preparing a masterplan to provide approximately 3,250 homes in the first neighbourhood to the West of Ifield. This will then form part of a Wider Opportunity Area of up to three neighbourhood that could total around 10,000 new homes over a period of 30 years. Homes England is only promoting land to accommodate the first neighbourhood at this stage but has been clear that there is a wider growth opportunity should this be supported by the Local Authorities.
As our plans develop, details of the construction routing will be confirmed with the local authority if the project progresses to that stage. These will be detailed in and strictly controlled by a Construction Management Plan which will also be agreed with the local authority as part of our planning conditions.
We are aware of the current economic uncertainty that has arisen as a result of COVID-19. The impact of COVID-19 and the potential response is a matter for the Local Authorities to consider and we would expect this to be tested in more detail through the preparation of their Local Plans. However, we consider that the land West of Ifield could have an important role in the COVID-19 response and can form part of a sustainable economic recovery by supporting significant job creation and providing a range of homes that meet local needs. Homes England will be undertaking further engagement with local authorities, communities, employers and other interested parties throughout the design and planning process to ensure that the potential to support the COVID-19 recovery is maximised.
We also recognise the impact that COVID-19 could have on the area in terms of housing sales. However, our plans outline the long-term delivery of homes for future generations. We will continue to monitor the situation.
No, we do not currently own the golf club site, but we are engaged in discussions with the owners.
Yes, we will be holding future consultation events and we are committed to ongoing dialogue and engagement with the community. We are exploring ways to continue to engage and consult in these challenging times and hope to be able to communicate this at the earliest opportunity. As you will know we are continuing to post regular updates on our website – https://westofifield.commonplace.is/
In terms of local wildlife, surveys are being undertaken and will be assessed as part of the Environmental Assessment in due course. We are committed to delivering 50% of the site as open space and have also committed to a 10% biodiversity uplift overall on site. If you would like to read more about this please read our post on the website relating to open space and biodiversity at https://westofifield.commonplace.is/news
We are assessing the potential impact of noise from Gatwick Airport in line with national and local guidance and assessments will follow a methodology agreed with the local authority.
Part of the assessment will be based on the noise contours published by Gatwick Airport that will inform our assessments and reflect the growth set out in Gatwick’s masterplan. This masterplan looks at future growth and is not affected by the recent short-term decrease in flights to and from the airport. Consideration of the frequency of aircraft movements will be factored into assessments based on projected future growth at Gatwick Airport.
In relation to your separate query regarding the statutory duty to follow government policy to limit and reduce the number of people affected by aircraft noise. The relevant national and local policies and other requirements in relation to the assessment of potential noise and other environmental impacts will be fully assessed as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment. The assessment methodologies will be agreed with the Local Planning Authority and relevant Environmental Health Officers.
As set out in our previous reply, our final proposals will be supported by the necessary environmental surveys and Health Impact Assessments to understand the significance of any potential effects and if necessary any further mitigation that is required. This information will be available as part of a future planning application. As part of ensuring that the development contributes positively to the health and wellbeing of residents, we are engaging with statutory health providers (such as the relevant clinical commissioning groups) to understand future health requirements of the area.
Any outline planning application will need to ensure that the impact on local transport is mitigated through a package of measures that will be agreed with the relevant highways authority and secured via a legal agreement and conditions. This will include a series of road and junction improvements, new bus routes, cycling and pedestrian routes, alongside numerous other measures which will be implemented as part of the plans. We are currently assessing the area to understand where potential improvements could be made and will present further details of this at our next round of consultation. These could include footpath and cycle path improvements to Ifield Station, however, we will not be able to confirm this until the transport assessments are finalised.
Finally, we are still early in the planning process and will ultimately need to apply to Horsham District Council for outline planning permission on the site. The Council will have the final say on whether the plans for West of Ifield are appropriate. Prior to this, there will be additional stages of engagement and communication, where members of the public will have the opportunity to comment on the plans.