During a meeting of the full council on Wednesday (October 20) a notice of motion was tabled calling on the council to write to both Homes England and Horsham District Council, setting out the council’s concerns.
While every councillor was of one voice when it came to opposing the proposed development, there was an exchange of views over the wording of the motion, which was tabled by Josh Bounds (Con, Ifield).
Peter Smith, cabinet member for planning & economic development, pointed out that the council had been making clear its objection to the plans since day one.
He said: “We wrote to Homes England with a complete list of asks or requirements. And more than that, we have built them all into our draft Local Plan.
“We have had various meetings with Homes England. At all meetings we have consistently put Crawley’s case to [them], which is that we do not support the proposals.”
Leader Peter Lamb said the motion suggested that the council had not been doing any work on the issue when, in fact, there were ‘a lot of people who have been working flat out’.
Mr Smith tabled an amendment to the motion, removing the call for the chief executive to write any letters – instead congratulating the administration for already having done so.
While the change was criticised as ‘back-slapping’ by Conservative councillors, they all voted in favour of the amended motion.
Duncan Crow (Con, Furnace Green), who seconded the motion, said there had been a misunderstanding and the point of the motion had been to present a united front.
Addressing Mr Lamb and Mr Smith, he said: “I can assure you both that there was never any intention to be critical of the administration or the Labour Group.”
He added: “We recognise the efforts that have been undertaken so far but I think this is very useful for us as a council to unite around and to show the people of Crawley, Horsham District Council and Homes England that we speak with one voice on this.”