A ‘rural revolution’ has taken place as multiple landowners have revealed they refused to sell their land to a developer.
Following the report that Twineham farmer Robert Worsley, refused to sell his land to Mayfield Market Towns for £275million, more landowners in the area have revealed they also refused to sell their land.
Pauline and Paul McBride, owners of 32 acres and ‘Sussex Prairie Gardens’, in Henfield, said they were offered £5million for their land.
Pauline said: “The garden contains wildlife habitats for birds, insects, honeybees, it’s stunningly beautiful and it breaks my heart to think that could be destroyed.
“I appreciate people need housing but I can’t contemplate destroying something so utterly beautiful.”
Mayfield Market Towns had hoped build a new town with up to 10,000 houses on the land between Sayers Common and Henfield but the plan has been criticised by local residents and councillors as being an inappropriate solution to the housing shortage issue.
Jane Watson, campaigner for LAMBS (Locals Against Mayfield Building Sprawl), described the actions of the landowners as a ‘rural revolution’.
“The strength of feeling here is unbelievable,” she said.
“ You can justifiably call it a rural revolution.
“This is a beautiful, unspoiled piece of true Sussex countryside and no one wants to see it destroyed,”
Edward Bunn, who runs the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead, was also offered £5million by the developer, to allow it to put an access road through his land.
He said the decision to refuse, was an easy one.
“The area does need housing but to stick it in the middle of rural West Sussex, nowhere near a town or roads or railways, is just ridiculous.”
Lee Newlyn, a director at Mayfield Market Towns, said: “We have been in discussions with a number of landowners, and do have the various options available to continue with our plans for a New Market Town.
“We remain committed to creating a well-planned, sustainable new settlement that can ensure the housing needs of the local community are met in the long-term, whilst delivering all the necessary infrastructure and facilities that add-on development to existing towns and villages seldom provide.”
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