Saturday, August 19, 2006
THE PARISH OF IFIELD AND WEST SUSSEX COUNTY COUNCIL (WSCC)
The West Sussex County Structure Plan, formulated by a Tory cabal at WSCC and elsewhere, has identified an area "west of Crawley" for 2500 new houses. Tory-controlled Horsham District Council (HDC) and Tory-controlled Crawley Borough Council (CBC) have jointly described it as the "West and North West of Crawley Area of Study".
Tories at WSCC, CBC or HDC apparently can't bring themselves to describe this ancient area simply as 'Ifield' - or more specifically the ancient 'Parish of Ifield'. This is hardly surprising because the people of Ifield immediately came out fighting when the Structure Plan was in its infancy years back - and continue to fight the same WSCC plans when they were re-presented by HDC and CBC.
Well, it looks as if the people of Ifield - including myself - are now going to have to fight harder than ever before. Why ? Because English Partnerships (formerly the Commission for New Towns) - who own vast chunks of land in the Parish - have made it very clear that they want the Ifield Village Conservation Area to be included in any future development plans (ie English Partnerships are proposing the destruction of a specially-protected SNCI (Site of Nature Conservation Importance) within the ancient Parish.
This is simply outrageous. As well as a monstrous abuse of power, it is also a shocking betrayal of trust by English Partnerships (who appear to be using a Los Angeles 'agent' for negotiations). CBC should throw out this proposal with the contempt it deserves...but what if they don't ? And I wonder who is the appointed property developer...the whole thing stinks.
Anyway, it is a 'open declaration of war' against the people of Ifield, and now also puts the Ifield Golf Club again under serious threat.
I'm still reeling from this news - made public by, ironically, Tory Councillor for Ifield John Denman (see his letter in both Crawley News and Crawley Observer ("Preserve our Ifield") this week - August 16.
There is a meeting at St Margaret's Church at 07.30 this Thursday (24th), and an Ifield Society Ramblette two days later - "You've Got To Walk It To Believe It" - Saturday (26th) at 11.00 to 12.30 outside the Plough in Ifield Village.
What do you think of democracy in West Sussex ? I think it would be a good idea.
Who is pulling the strings of the WSCC, HDC and CBC ?
The proposal for Ifield is effectively an amendment being put forward by English Partnerships to the Crawley Borough Council LDF (Local Development Framework). Given that CBC "owns" this document, it would be reasonable to expect that they will defend it against the proposed amendment, regardless of party political control.
As for thinking CBC "owns" this document, Ballustrade, you seem to conveniently forget that English Partnerships "owns" most of the land in and around Ifield - especially the CBC-designated Ifield Village Conservation Area.
Perhaps Proudhon was right : "Property is theft".
Money talks, but it doesn't listen - especially to the people.