INDEPENDENT ELECTION CANDIDATE PROPOSES DECLARATION OF ‘ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY’ WEST OF IFIELD
A Crawley county and borough councillor who resigned from the Labour Party is standing for re-election, but this time as an independent.
Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 12:05 pm
Karen Sudan represents Northgate & West Green at both West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council.
She and fellow borough councillor Rory Fiveash quit the Labour Party to become independents last summer.
Mrs Sudan is standing again as an independent at both the borough and district council elections next Thursday (May 6).
Mrs Sudan said: “My record on both councils will show that the thing I feel most strongly about is the need for much better scrutiny of the plans and decisions that are made that affect the lives of residents. Too many important decisions are made behind closed doors by one or two people, with only a nod – sometimes not even a nod – towards an opportunity for others to ask questions.”
She believes the plans for 10,000 homes West of Ifield are not in the town’s interest with Crawley people making it clear ‘that they don’t want it’.
She also questioned why the borough council has not fully discussed it and taken no official position on ‘something that will have such a massive effect on the town’.
Mrs Sudan added: “If I am elected, not only will I push for the borough council to take a position on this issue, but I will also propose that the council work with other bodies and declare an ecological emergency.
“If the council truly do not believe that this development is in Crawley’s interests and that it is better for all of us that the area is left to nature for us to benefit from and enjoy as such, then it is perfectly possible for the council to follow the example set elsewhere and to take a lead in this way.
“If I am re-elected, I will continue to ask questions and to demand more robust scrutiny of the decision-making process at all stages and levels. We have to make sure that those who make decisions about our services, our money and our public assets are accountable to those they serve – us.”
Kindly note that the Officers and Members of Horsham District Council do not want to build 1,000’s of houses in the District.
The person responsible for this is the Housing Minister.
The Housing Minister has INSTRUCTED us to build 30,000 houses over the next 25 years.
Your Officers and Members did not initiate this.
The Housing Minister is responsible for this. For HDC to ignore this will still result in multitudes of houses being constructed in the District, BUT with less controls over it.
HDC is very aware of your concerns over this massive house building in our lovely area.
But ONLY the Housing Minister can stop it.
Therefore, you need to e-mail the Housing Minister of your objections as ONLY he can stop this onslaught on Horsham District.
Dear Mr Donnelly
You are correct in your statement except for one thing. Horsham council decide where these houses are to be built unless you lose on appeal.
The Crawley MP Mr H Smith stated at a meeting held at the Ifield golf club to its members that if you reject Homes England West of Ifield proposal that it would be very unlikely to be overturned on appeal.
Therefore, you do have the power to stop this ill-conceived development.
Dear Mr Donnelly
I have just seen your response below. In this I note that Horsham District Council are against such development as proposed by Homes England but are caught between a rock and a hard place because of the objections of the local council/horrified residents and the instructions of the Housing Minister – ‘He who must be obeyed’ to mis-quote ‘Rumpole of the Bailey’. In closing your e-mail exhorts residents – ‘Therefore, you need to e-mail the Housing Minister of your objections as ONLY he can stop this onslaught on Horsham District.’
I, and no doubt many others, would have found it useful to have the necessary contact details of the Minister so that this could be done as quickly as possible since my Member of Parliament, Jeremy Quinn MP, seems oblivious to his constituents’ concerns regarding this massive development. In the circumstances I would be grateful if you would supply the full contact details of the Housing Minister – both e-mail and address for correspondence – and I look forward to hearing from you with this information matter of urgency.
The Housing Minister is Robert Jenrick MP.
His e-mail and address are:-
House of Commons
Please see my exchanges below with Mr Donnelly following on from his original e-mail which makes it clear that the person responsible for this unwanted and monstrous development is the Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick MP.
In the circumstances, now is the time to make it clear to the Minister the strength of local objections against these plans to destroy our local area, and the Chairman of Homes England’s total contempt for the local community. He has already made it clear that, should any attempt be made to thwart his plans, he will used his powers to force these through come what may. So much for democracy!
I note Donnelly’s emphatic and unambiguous statement:
“The Housing Minister has INSTRUCTED us to build 30,000 houses over the next 25 years”.
Horsham District has received a written instruction from the Housing Minister? Really?
Perhaps ask the Cllr to allow the public to see the instruction? Alternatively, perhaps Henry Smith MP could ask?
We are happy to announce that if elected, our candidates will fully support any proposals to declare an Ecological Emergency on our bordering/green land.
The West of Ifield housing plans are the final straw, and Greens elected to Crawley Borough Council will do all in our power to keep our green spaces protected.
Richard Kail – Green Party – Bewbush and North Broadfield [CBC] – Bewbush and Ifield West [WSCC]
Iain Dickson – Green Party – Ifield and Ifield West [CBC] – Langley Green and Ifield East [WSCC]
Sally-Claire Fadelle – Green Party – Ifield and Ifield West [CBC]
Ben Fletcher – Green Party – Gossops Green and North East Broadfield [CBC]
Robin Fitton – Green Party – Southgate and Gossops Green [WSCC]
WEST OF IFIELD – EAST OF RUSPER
Homes England seem keen to convince everyone that the greenfield space that lies wholly in Rusper Parish is really just an extension of Crawley Town and has no environmental value and is the perfect place to build up to 10,000 new houses.
The “West of Ifield” label is there to convince Horsham District Councillors that this is a good place to put all of the thousands of unwanted and unneeded houses being forced on them by central Government. They are supposed to think that this isn’t the same as the wonderful rural green space that makes up most of Horsham District, but a wasteland that can make up their housing numbers and only affect Crawley.
The land in question – the East of Rusper is an important rural area with ancient woodland and important flood plain areas along the river Mole. It provides a very diverse habitat for a wealth of flora and fauna. It is populated by rare bats, insects, birds and small invertebrates as well as the wide variety of wildlife common throughout rural Sussex and Surrey. The land falls within the wider Low Weald Hills and Low Weald Northern Vales areas. The WSCC landscape character assessment, states that we should: “Conserve the rural quality of the area including the pattern of the agricultural landscape, the intricate patchwork of small scale fields, and linked woodland, and the intimate and unobtrusive settlement pattern found throughout much of the area.”
The Homes England proposal starts by removing a key recreational and landscape feature of the area, by building on Ifield Golf Course as part of their first phase. There is no evidence that the golf course is not needed and no attempt to provide any alternative facilities for the local community. This is a needless loss for the current communities in the area and starts the new development with even less facilities than exist now. It also completely ignores the wildlife habitats that have been created here with the planting of thousands of trees over the years.
Horsham has, within its existing Plan (Horsham District planning Framework – HDPF), already identified the local housing need and through the National Inspector’s review added in additional housing to support neighbouring Boroughs and Districts and even an allowance for Greater London overspill. It has allocated strategic sites to meet that need for the next 12 years at least. Since then, the Government has forced significant additional numbers of houses on Horsham District (and other authorities), with no clear justification for this, unlike the clear assessment of local needs that informed the original HDPF. The build out rate for the existing strategic sites has already slowed as the houses cannot be sold quickly enough, yet another indicator that the current figures are meeting the needs. With the financial effects of the recent Covid crisis, especially the impact on the largest local employer at Gatwick Airport, it would seem that these extra housing numbers are even less justifiable.
If the new Homes England proposal for “East of Rusper” goes ahead, this will be within the same landscape area that separates Crawley and Horsham as the other two major development areas at Kilnwood Vale (South Rusper) and North Horsham (South-West Rusper) within the existing HDPF. The idea that Crawley and Horsham will retain their independent characters once all of this new housing is complete is almost farcical.
Rusper Parish Council has just completed the Rusper Neighbourhood Plan for this area. It has passed inspection and is only waiting for the final referendum confirmation (delayed due to Covid restrictions). If the Homes England “East of Rusper” proposal becomes an adopted part of the new Horsham Local Plan, it will completely undermine the whole basis of the Rusper Neighbourhood Plan before it even begins!
Rusper Parish Council calls upon all Horsham District Councillors to vote against this site being included in the new Horsham Local Plan.
Chair of Planning
Rusper Parish Council
NOTE FROM RICHARD W. SYMONDS – THE IFIELD SOCIETY
Homes England’s monstrous West of Ifield plan for 10,000 houses is not only East of Rusper, but also within the ancient Parish of Ifield:
Peter Lamb – Labour Leader of Crawley Borough Council
“I declare a hyper emergency, it has ten times the power of this one for stopping development (10 x 0 = 0)”
Reply from Richard W. Symonds – The Ifield Society
“Dismissing the call for a West of Ifield ‘Ecological Emergency’ Declaration with such arrogance makes those local politicians with the power to implement it part of the problem – not part of the solution. Such inaction and indifference to this very real environmental threat to our survival and well-being does not bode well for the future.
“We have a moral responsibility to warn of the dangers ahead if we do nothing – or not enough. Failure to stop this monstrous development by Homes England will have consequences.
“We also have a political responsibility to act now – all of us. This can start next Thursday when we have the opportunity to vote.
“Declaring an ‘Ecological Emergency’ is not playing political games, nor is it misleading anyone. Dismissively ignoring such dangers is not an option for this community”
“STAND YOUR GROUND FOR NATURE” – CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF SUSSEX WILDLIFE TRUST WRITES TO ALL HORSHAM DISTRICT COUNCILLORS