NOVEMBER 23 2022 – CRAWLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL – CABINET MEETING – ‘PARISH-WEST OF IFIELD’ PUBLIC QUESTIONS [7PM – OLD TOWN HALL]

 

RICHARD SYMONDS – THE IFIELD SOCIETY

“WHAT FURTHER ACTION IS THIS COUNCIL TAKING – OTHER THAN YOUR VERY WELCOME VISIT TO THE ‘SAVE WEST OF IFIELD – TOGETHER’ STALL AT COUNTY MALL LAST SATURDAY – TO PROTECT OUR ANCIENT PARISH FROM HOMES ENGLAND’S ‘MASTERPLAN OF MADNESS’? 

CLLR. ATIF NAWAZ – CABINET MEMBER FOR PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – CRAWLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

In April 2020, this Council issued an objection to West of Ifield being proposed as a Strategic Site allocation in Horsham’s draft Local Plan. This was submitted to Horsham District Council’s Regulation 18 “early engagement” consultation.

In October last year, this Council passed a motion at Full Council confirming our strongest possible opposition to Homes England’s proposals.

Through officer engagement with them, we continue to challenge Homes England on their emerging evidence related to their draft West of Ifield masterplan, which they very recently consulted residents on.

The draft Horsham District Plan is due to be published shortly by Horsham District Council and when it is out for its Regulation 19 public consultation, this Council will submit a formal response to continue our challenge, should Horsham be minded to propose to allocate West of Ifield as a development site in their Local Plan.

Crawley Borough Council will also be a statutory consultee should Homes England submit a planning application next year to Horsham and this Council will not hesitate to challenge these proposals should they be submitted, particularly in relation to their impacts on Crawley and to the needs of Crawley’s residents.

Please rest assured we will be very vocal about such challenges at both stages.

SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTION: 

“WHAT PROGRESS IS BEING MADE TO TURN WILLOUGHBY FIELDS LOCAL NATURE RESERVE, IFIELD BROOK MEADOWS LOCAL GREEN SPACE AND IFIELD MILL & MILLPOND SNCI, INTO A QUEEN ELIZABETH II NATIONAL NATURE RESERVE?”

CLLR. ATIF NAWAZ – CABINET MEMBER FOR PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – CRAWLEY BOROUGH COUNCI

The areas you have mentioned are already, all, individually, designated open space within Crawley and such they area already have protections within Crawley’s Local Plan. In addition, Ifield Village is a designated Conservation Area and we have 3 designated Local Wildlife sites at Ifield Brook Meadows, Willoughby Fields and Ifield Millpond. Willoughby Fields is a Local Nature Reserve and Ifield Brook is a Biodiversity Opportunity Area. Some of these areas also comprise areas of identified Ancient Woodland, structural landscaping and a number of listed buildings. There are already a range of designations within Crawley’s Local Plan which provide effective protections for these areas in planning policy terms”

The ancient Parish of Ifield boundary [in green] – with St Margaret’s 13th century Parish Church in the geographical centre – and showing Willoughby Fields Local Nature Reserve [LNR], Ifield Brook Meadows Local Green Space [LGS] and Ifield Mill and Millpond SNCI – and showing the proposed Relief Road [in black].

One important point I was trying to put across in both questions – but failed to do so – was that if the three separate protected areas were combined to National Nature Reserve status [which is within your power to do so], then a ‘buffer zone’ would be required west of Ifield Brook – within HDC’s boundary – thus negating the possibility of Homes England building right up to Ifield Brook. This is quite apart from the ‘subsidence’ issue which could possibly affect the nearby St Margaret’s Parish Church and other historic buildings within the Conservation Area

Richard Symonds 

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/queen-elizabeth-ii-nature-reserve-and-heritage-park-ifield-1