Hundreds pack out meeting to protest against market town plans

Villagers pack out a Hassocks meeting to discuss proposals for a new market town (submitted).

Villagers pack out a Hassocks meeting to discuss proposals for a new market town (submitted).

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More than 400 people packed out a public meeting to protest against plans for a 10,000 home new market town in West Sussex.

On Friday night (October 18) many had to be turned away from Hassocks’ Adastra Hall, with long queues of traffic attempting to enter the village.

In the past year and a half Mayfield Market Towns has lobbied both Horsham District Council and Mid Sussex District Council over plans for a new settlement between Henfield and Sayers Common.

Nick Herbert, MP for Arundel and South Downs was joined by Mid Sussex MP, Nicholas Soames, who also spoke at the meeting, which was organised jointly by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and local protest group, Locals Against Mayfields Building Sprawl (LAMBS).

LAMBS founder Anthony Watts Williams said: “Mayfield is targeting a sparsely populated area, made up of flood plain and small ancient villages, where a wonderful community spirit exists.

“The developers can’t see any of this from their maps, or from their helicopters, they just see countryside; which to them means big profit.

“We are not NIMBYs. We understand that more housing is needed, but it needs to be cited in the right places, by the right people.”

So many villagers turned up for the meeting that there were queues outside, and some people had to go home.

Among them was Ian Simmons, From Sayers Common, who said: “I am disappointed not to get in, but really heartened by the amount of support, and the number of local people who are here.”

Among those who did get in were local teenagers, Holly Richardson, Isaabel Widdowson, Imogen Watson and Annabel Locke.

The girls presented the two MPs with a young peoples’ petition of more than 300 signatures asking for greater protection for the district’s countryside.

For a full report of the meeting see this Thursday’s West Sussex County Times.