One issue I have continued to speak out on over the last couple of years are the proposals by Homes England to build some 10,000 housing units on green fields to the west of Ifield.
The voice of local residents is clear in opposition to these plans. This is the call I have continued to make in resident meetings, to Homes England, and in Parliament.
While no one can deny the need to build new homes in this country, such a task cannot be done by ignoring the concerns of local communities.
It is welcome that the Government announced last year that all new streets are to be tree-lined and that new homes are carbon neutral.
However, I remain concerned over the robustness of green field protections, not least for the west of Ifield. The environmental damage cannot be underestimated and this is just one objection I have continued to highlight in my representations with Homes England management.
With much of the area prone to flooding, is this really where we want to locate 10,000 new homes? This is an issue I have raised in the Commons with the Housing Secretary. Indeed, a look at the national news in recent weeks has provided a telling reminder of the disruption and devastation that such conditions can cause local communities.
In spite of its proximity to Crawley, the land to the west of Ifield falls under the auspices of Horsham District Council. In the previous parliament I asked the Government for a Commons statement from the Housing Secretary for further clarification on how Crawley residents can have a greater say in voicing our objections.
New housing means a need for additional infrastructure like doctors surgeries, schools and roads. As we have seen with previous, recent Crawley developments like Forge Wood, such provision often lags far behind, putting extra pressure on services for established residents and well as new.
Such a process to take on the vital task of building new homes must not be undertaken in such a harmful way. My record on this issue is clear and will continue to be so.
Over the last week I have also received confirmation from the Employment Minister in the Commons of a second Crawley Jobcentre and a Department for Work & Pensions response hub at Gatwick Airport being opened to help get local people back into work following the stark economic impact of Covid-19.
Support such as this being delivered locally will help our community bounce back from the economic impact of the last year.
Henry Smith MP