DECEMBER 30 2021 – IFIELD VILLAGE CONSERVATION AREA ADVISORY COMMITTEE [IVCAAC] – ANNUAL MEETING UPDATE

 

Update from the annual meeting held on 2nd November

Many thanks to those of you who attended IVCAAC’s  annual meeting at the start of November – and coped with the cold in the well ventilated church!

The main item – development west of Ifield – generated considerable interest and a lot of questions.

For those who did not attend, here is a brief summary.  Horsham District Council (HDC) has put the land west of Ifield in their local plan as a site for development of 3,250 houses.  The piece of land in question includes the Quarter Mile field, the fields up to and surrounding Ifield Court Hotel, the fields to Pound cottages and the whole of Ifield Golf Course.  This land is now owned by Homes England (HE). (HE bought the Ifield Golf Course recently – the rest of the land was left over from the Commission for the New Towns).  HE has suggested that in due course the development could be extended to go as far as Faygate – and supply altogether 10,000 houses. The scale of the proposals and their potential impact on Ifield and Crawley had not been recognised by several who attended our meeting.

Publication of HDC’s Draft Local Plan (due in November/December 2021) has been delayed by the ruling from Natural England (a government department) that all plans must be ‘water neutral’ – i.e. must not extract more water than they put back in the system.  This has affected many local plans in the SE (including Crawley’s).  We await the publication, but as yet have no indication of when that will be. Once the plan is published, the public will have a 6 week window in which to respond formally under Regulation 19.

In the meantime, those attending were encouraged to write to their local MP and to the papers with their reactions.  Thank you to those who did follow up and who successfully had their letters published.

IVCAAC’s concerns include:

  • the loss of the one place in Crawley where there is pedestrian access to the countryside and where the concept of a town in the countryside is retained;
  • the loss of the amenity of the golf course;
  • the proposed link road through the development from the A264 would complete the circle of heavy transport round Crawley (M23 on the east; Gatwick to the north; A264 to the south and the new road to the west);
  • lack of infrastructure (schools; hospital; other medical facilities; train links etc) to support the additional population (this would largely fall on Crawley where services are already overstretched);
  • loss of wildlife habitats;
  • the creation of ‘CRAWSHAM’, with the development of west of Ifield almost joining up with the current development North of Horsham. .

Save West of Ifield (SWOI)

A campaign to save the west of Ifield from development has formed. This was not instigated by IVCAAC but we have joined.  SWOI’s first newsletter is attached.  It is informative, shows the likely extent of the development and directs the reader to the SWOI website and facebook pages.

Other news

At the time of the meeting, the consultation from Gatwick about the proposal to use the emergency runway as an additional runway (i.e. an expansion of the airport) was still open.  We did not focus on this at the meeting because of lack of time.  IVCAAC subsequently responded with objections; thank you to those who also responded.

I will write again when we have an indication of a publication date for the HDC Draft Local Plan.  It will of course be on the SWOI website.

 

Best wishes for 2022

 

Jenny Frost

Secretary, Ifield Village Conservation Area Advisory Committee. (IVCAAC)