MPs have branded plans for a new 10,000 homes town as ‘friendless’.
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert and Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames said the Mayfield town proposal has ‘none of the qualifications for a garden city or town’, after government plans to build a new garden town in Oxfordshire were revealed.
Mr Herbert said proposals for a ‘locally-led’ garden town at Bicester – which will provide up to 13,000 new homes – are being backed by the council and local MP.
Last year the government announced a new garden city with 15,000 homes will be built in Ebbsfleet in Kent.
But the MPs said the new towns have ‘very different characteristics’ to the Mayfield proposal.
Sir Nicholas Soames said the proposal is ‘fundamentally flawed and simply does not accord with government policy on new towns’.
“There is not, and never will be, the infrastructure to support 10,000 houses in open countryside in this location,” he said.
“Mayfield should recognise that their plan is unsustainable and out of line with other garden city-style developments that have been taken forward.”
The MPs argue both sites have access to ‘significant infrastructure’, with road and rail links being improved.
Mr Herbert said the Bicester project has local support, but it is being built on brown field land.
He said: “Mayfield is the exact opposite: it is a friendless proposal, strongly opposed by the local MPs, opposed by both Mid Sussex and Horsham District councils and it would be built on a greenfield site which doesn’t even have all the landowners’ support.”
Toby Brothers, parliamentary candidate for UKIP in Mid Sussex said if the project went ahead there would be ‘little countryside left’.
“It’s all very well for the two Tory MPs, Sir Nicholas Soames and NickHerbert, to come out against the scheme for 10,000 houses between Sayers Common and Henfield, but their own government has fostered this situation,” he said.
Lee Newlyn, a Director at Mayfield Market Towns, said garden cities are important in helping to alleviate the ‘serious shortage of housing’.
“It is misleading to state that our proposals have ‘none of the qualifications for a garden city or town’. In fact, our proposals are very much based upon a garden city vision that brings together local politicians, landowners and residents to create a new settlement that benefits the local community.”
He said the ‘real issue’ is that people need homes, with local people preferring to see them built in a single town.