Homes England proposals for West of Ifield – CRAWLEY DEMANDS A SAY!
More and more people from Ifield and Ifield West are hearing about the proposals to build 10,000 houses on Ifield and Crawley’s south-western border and, as we are in an election period we are hearing from certain other parties about how they are campaigning to stop this scheme.
Well, it is Ifield Labour party that have been campaigning right from when we first learned about the proposals for this scheme. And all Labour councillors and candidates are or have worked on this campaign including our late colleague Cllr Geraint Thomas.
We first learned about the current proposals when Cllr Peter Smith, who is the CBC Cabinet member for Planning, joined a confidential meeting with Homes England. This confidentiality was maintained until Homes England announced their scheme publicly. At this initial meeting I made it clear that we were not happy with the proposals for three main reasons:
- The site is mostly in HDC land and CBC would, therefore, not have any say in what was purported to be new Crawley neighbourhoods immediately adjacent to Crawley’s boundary
- There was no commitment to provide affordable housing at social rents for Crawley people on Crawley’s waiting lists
- The overall scale and impact that the scheme would have on Ifield and Crawley – 10,000 homes would be approximately a 25% increase in the total number of homes in Crawley
Ifield Labour party, led by Ifield and Ifield West Labour councillors started a campaign against this scheme in late 2019, having considered all of the available options, and created the first post on our campaign website in December 2019. Since then, we have maintained a library of articles, information and links to relevant materials from Homes England, CBC and HDC. Wherever possible we have saved copies of material and particularly Homes England generated information. It is sometimes useful to refer back to things that have been promised!
The campaign website is here: West of Ifield campaign
On 11th January 2020 we launched a comprehensive survey of resident’s opinions. This was initially targeted at Ifield and Ifield West residents but later expanded to include all Crawley residents as it became clear that the scale of the proposals would have a major impact not just on Ifield but on the whole of Crawley. We have had hundreds of responses to our survey and, therefore, feel that we can confidently speak up for what our resident’s think rather than what we think that they think! Not all politicians do this…..
We, Cllr Jilly Hart, Cllr Chris Oxlade and Cllr Peter Smith, presented to a well-attended Talk Ifield public meeting at the Elim Church on 22nd January 2020 (a meeting originally scheduled for November 2019 but which had had to be postponed) and presented background information on the Homes England plans and the CBC planning position, as well as taking questions from the public. The slides that we used are available on our website: Talk Ifield Presentation And here is our report of the meeting complete with Crawley Observer article: Talk Ifield meeting
Once this meeting had taken place we arranged with Homes England for them to attend a Talk Ifield public meeting and the meeting was scheduled for 16th March 2020. This had to be cancelled at the last minute due to the Covid-19 pandemic lock-down coming into effect.
Since then, we have posted regular detailed updates on all areas related to the proposals:
- CBC Local Plan and Public consultations
- HDC Local Plan and Public consultations
- Homes England updates including
- Open Spaces
- Homes England submission to HDC Local Plan consultation
- Homes England public ‘consultations’
- And more ….
At all times we have monitored and tracked the curious evolution of the Homes England proposals from a 10,000 home development to its current form of a 3,250 home imminent planning application to HDC. We have also noted, as have most residents, that most of the detail seems to be being made up as they go along with many inconsistent or, frankly, un-realistic answers to our questions.
Additionally, we have produced and paid for two A4 leaflets to go to every house in Ifield and Ifield West keeping residents updated on the Homes England plans and what we are doing to stop them. Please show your support for our campaign by displaying (on the back of our latest leaflet) our ‘CRAWLEY DEMANDS A SAY!’ poster in your windows.
And at all times Crawley’s Ifield and Ifield West Councillors have participated and spoken up for our residents and our Town. We have also answered many resident’s questions and provided detailed answers related to the CBC Local Plan and issues related to the planning process.
We had been working with Talk Ifield to agree the forming of a resident’s committee to lead the campaign going forward but it seems that this is not to be and a group is now emerging to fulfil this role. We will be a full part of that and will keep residents updated as the Campaign progresses.
It is only by the whole community being united that we will have any chance to stop these proposals going ahead. Ifield and Ifield West Labour party and Councillors will be continuing to contribute fully to the campaign.
Please ensure that you vote for all Labour candidates at the elections on Thursday 6th May so that we can continue to work with you, our community, in the fight against this unwanted development.
Cllr Peter Smith – CBC councillor and Cabinet member for Planning and Economic development
Cllr Jilly Hart – CBC councillor and 2021 candidate
Cllr Chris Oxlade – WSCC councillor and 2021 candidate
Sandra Buck – CBC candidate
Alison Cornell – WSCC candidate
Ifield and Ifield West
p.s. if you haven’t already done it please complete our survey here