KAREN DUNN ON TWITTER – LOCAL DEMOCRACY REPORTER – ON THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE FULL COUNCIL MEETING – AS IT HAPPENS
On to a report about the Crawley City Status bid democracy.crawley.gov.uk/documents/s203crawleyobserver.co.uk/news/politics/crawleyobserver.co.ukWhat would becoming a city mean for Crawley?Crawley Borough Council is exploring the possibility of applying for city status on the 75th anniversary of becoming a new town.
@Karen_Dunncrawleyobserver.co.ukWest of Ifield homes ‘will urbanise a huge swathe of our neighbouring countryside’Crawley councillors are to vote on a motion declaring the ‘strongest possible opposition’ to plans for 10,000 new homes west of Ifield.
“Political vision, political will and political unity are three essential ingredients to make this happen. Combining Willoughby Fields Local Nature Reserve [LNR], Ifield Brook Meadows Local Green Space [LGS] and the Millpond-Bewbush Water Gardens [SSSI] into one West of Ifield Local Nature Reserve [LNR] is more than possible – but it will also require community courage”
Richard W. Symonds – The Ifield Society
“We will now be pushing hard for a Local Nature Reserve status – what better way to show our ‘green’ credentials as we seek City status”
Richard W. Symonds ~ The Ifield Society
CBC Full Council – Public Question Time – October 20 2021 2021.10.20
Question by Richard Symonds – The Ifield Society
“Is the ‘Water Neutrality’ Directive from Natural England a ‘show-stopper’ when it comes to
large developments -such as the West of Ifield masterplan within our ancient Parish?”
Answer by Cllr Peter Smith – CBC Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development
I will, of course, email you a full response to your question after this meeting.
Natural England is a Government Agency and sent us a ‘Position statement’ on 14th
September. It was entirely unexpected and has an immediate effect on the Sussex North
water supply zone (which is managed by Southern Water). The Sussex North zone
includes most of Crawley, nearly all of Horsham district, including the West of Ifield area,
some of Chichester district and parts of the South Downs National Park.
The Position statement covers most of Crawley including Manor Royal and effectively stops
us approving new planning permissions which have an increased water demand
implication. This is, of course, most planning applications.
In the meantime in Crawley it’s preventing job creating and affordable schemes from coming
forward, and stopping people from getting their extensions, which is why we need to find a
solution. So we are co-operating with Natural England, Southern Water and other planning
authorities affected to develop a water neutrality strategy. This will take a number of
months to put in place.
We have a large number of Householder applications that are affected with more coming in
every week and more than ten major applications for commercial development affected.
We are doing this for Crawley applications to help our residents build their extensions and
our developers to build new business premises creating much needed jobs.
In the much longer term, Southern Water are proposing to install new abstraction facilities.
Of course, we do not have any large sites in Crawley as we are broadly built out to our
The majority of the Homes England’s West of Ifield site lies in Horsham District and so they
are the planning authority and will decide any application. Crawley will be consulted as a
statutory consultee, as the site is on our boundary, but we will not have any say in the final
So I can’t say what effect the Natural England positions statement will have on large
applications in Horsham but Homes England is a Government agency and of a large enough
size that there is no guarantee that this will prevent the West of Ifield development.
For our part in Crawley we will be taking a keen interest in these events and will continue to
speak up for Ifield and Crawley’s interests at all times.
Supplementary question by Richard Symonds
“Last Monday, Horsham District Council’s Deputy Leader [and Councillor
representing the Ward of Colgate and Rusper within the ancient Parish of
Ifield] wrote on a Facebook site regarding Homes England’s scheme of 10,000
houses West of Ifield:
‘Why are you not writing to homes England to object to the scheme? HDC legally have
to review what is put in front of them but the developer in this case homes England could
withdraw the plans…. I would encourage everybody to write to homes England as well’
Will Crawley Borough Council support a letter-writing campaign urging Homes
England to withdraw their scheme of 10,000 houses West of Ifield?”
Answer from Cllr Peter Smith
Crawley Borough Council would encourage all those who object to the proposals to use
every avenue available to ensure their voice is heard by Homes England. That could include
a letter writing campaign or more importantly ensuring that they participate in any formal
public consultation run by Homes England, as a lack of overwhelming opposition in the
public responses is likely to be used as evidence of public support when planning permission
Cllr Peter Smith – Additional comments
The Full Council voted unanimously, with all members in attendance, for Josh’s motion with amendments proposed by Peter Smith. This is good news as it is clearly in the public record that CBC are not supporting Homes England’s proposed development.
Here is the amended wording:
Proposed Amended Notice Of Motion 2 – Land West Of Ifield / Crawley, if approved, now read:
Crawley Borough Council formally re-states its strongest possible opposition to the Homes England proposal to build up to 10,000 new homes to the west of Ifield/Crawley.
The Council congratulates the administration for having written some time ago to both Homes England and Horsham District Council on behalf of the council’s entire membership, to set out the full range of concerning impacts for Crawley and the environment, including infrastructure pressures, that this development would create, and seeking both maximum mitigation measures and ongoing influence for Crawley throughout the entire process, in order to protect Crawley’s interests.