Agenda item

Public Question Time

To answer any questions asked by the public which are relevant to the functions of the Cabinet.


Public Question Time will be concluded by the Chair when all questions have been answered or on the expiry of a period of 15 minutes, whichever is the earlier.


The Cabinet received the following questions by members of the public which also includes the responses by the appropriate Cabinet Members


Question by Mr Symonds (Ifield) to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development:

“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’? 


Response by Councillor Nawaz (Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development):

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


Supplementary Question by Mr Symonds:

“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?”


Response by Councillor Nawaz (Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development):

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. 



Question by Mr Eden (Ifield) to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development:

I’ve lived in Ifield Green for more than 50 years and still do so. We suffer from flooring and with the River Mole and Ifield Brook were up to dangerous levels. People in Strathmore close are really worried over more flooding, as we’ve been flooded out 3 times this century. The Full Council recently wrote a letter to Center Parc’s objecting to their proposed building plans in Worth. So why haven’t this Council collectively strongly raised concerns to prevent the concreting of West of Ifield and sent a similar letter to HorshamDC?


Response by Councillor Jones (Leader of the Council):

It was very clearly the policy this Council, that we do not support the development West of Ifield, for reasons including flooding, traffic, pollution etc. I would also say we have written to Homes England who are the Governmentry organisation, overseeing the planning and development of the proposed development. They are not in charge of the local government planning decisions, which is HorshamDC. I’m very confident when it gets to a position of a planning decision, this Council would be making every representation to HorshamDC against the proposal.


Response by Councillor Nawaz (Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development):

Hopefully you heard my response to the previously question as I think it answer many of your queries along with Councillor Jones comments. Rest assured this Council will be very vocal in protecting our resident. In October 2021 the Full Council unanimously showed its opposition to West of Ifield. We have written to Homes England raising our opposition to the plans. We are on it and if it get put forward by HorshamDC we would be a statutory consultee and would be strongly objecting to it.


Supplementary Question by Mr Eden:

I appreciated what has been said and the 18-page document Councillor Jones has sent to me over the Council’s concerns. But what seems to be missing in Crawley and in Ifield is the visibility. The Center Parcs letter was in the press. Nothing appears to be in the press, that I’ve seen about the proposed development.


Response by Councillor Jones (Leader of the Council):

There are a few people in the room believe there was a number of things in the press previously. I can’t tell you exactly when, now though. I suppose one of the reasons why Old House Warren was in the press recently was we only wrote to Mid-SussexDC and Center Parcs last week.


Response by Councillor C Mullins (Cabinet Member for Wellbeing):

I would hate to think those in your campaign feel we are not supporting their cause. I represent Gossops Green and my residents would be affected significantly by the proposal especially because of the traffic. We saw the presentation recently showing the road scheme that goes down to Charlwood Road. That doesn’t make sense it should be through to the A23 and through our Town and destroy Cherry Lane out to County Oak. We oppose the Plans and happy to say as such