East Grinstead Society

Proposed development at East Grinstead

Housing target change

In June 2009 MSDC announced a reduced 570 target for strategic housing development at East Grinstead to replace the 2,500 and associated relief road which the council has at last conceded are unsustainable and inappropriate for the town. The announcement of East Grinstead’s new target of 570 may distract public attention from the 2,200 houses already forecast over the plan period from back garden infill developments, ‘brownfield’ sites, small-scale housing et cetera in the town. The combined housing total in the period to 2026 would therefore amount to some 2,770, with perhaps 5,000 more residents needing employment, and a similar number of extra cars. Only relatively few new residents would find work locally since the main employment centres in the area are Crawley and Gatwick.

The proposed town expansion of 570 + 2,200 homes therefore raises a number of questions. Would town junction improvements be enough to cope with several thousand extra cars? Traffic experts have differing opinions on how much traffic congestion improvement is possible in the light of East Grinstead’s difficult road structure. What would be the effect on the already congested A264 westbound? How will village and local roads cope with increased commuter traffic trying to avoid the town centre?

These questions require thorough strategic road planning if the town is to maintain its historic character, be a good place to live in, and continue to provide employment proportionate to its size and nature. In preparing its revised Core Strategy in line with the South East Plan, Mid Sussex District Council should now consider more seriously suitable sites to the east of Crawley much closer to employment and road/rail transport systems.

The proposed 570 houses in the Imberhorne area would be in our view be the thin end of a wedge which, when the economy improves, would grow into a much larger housing development with a road infrastructure ever more inadequate.

Campaign

The East Grinstead Post Referendum Campaign (PRC), supported by this Society and other local organisations, has opposed since 2002 the Plan for 2500 homes and an associated relief road. For details of the PRC campaign and background see www.eghouses.org.uk