Mayfield Market Towns chair stepping down to lead Homes England

The chair of a company wanting to build a new settlement in West Sussex is stepping down to lead Homes England.

Peter Freeman, speaking to MPs last week
Peter Freeman, speaking to MPs last week

Peter Freeman has been one of the driving forces behind Mayfield Market Towns, which is promoting proposals for 7,000 new homes east of Henfield.

The strategic site is one of a number put forward for consideration to Horsham District Council during its local plan review.

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Mr Freeman, who is best known in the industry for a mixed-use regeneration scheme in London’s Kings Cross, will be the next chair of Homes England, the government’s housing delivery body.

The appointment was scrutinised by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Select Committee last Monday (October 12), where Mr Freeman said he would be resigning from Mayfields’ board of directors.

However he would only divest his financial interest in the company in the event it is allocated and told MPs the project would not be seeking any Homes England grants before this time.

If appointed he told MPs he would recuse himself from decisions relating to the Homes England ‘Northern Arc’ development already granted planning permission at Burgess Hill and the proposed scheme for 10,000 homes west of Ifield hoping to be allocated by HDC.

In a statement he said: “Mayfields’ board has always aimed to create an exemplary scheme that combines the best of an active traditional Sussex market town with attractive architecture, countryside walks and sustainable buildings. Our masterplan encourages walking, cycling and wellbeing. We will bring employment as well as residents to reduce commuting.

“I would have liked to help guide the development until the initial homes, parks, schools and jobs were complete but recognise that on taking up the role of chair of Homes England, to avoid any perception of conflict I must stand down from Mayfields’ board. I know my successor as chair Clare Miller, who is also the chief executive of Clarion, and the rest of the board share the commitment to delivering an outstanding place.

“Our team of designers and technical consultants continues to be led by Debbie Aplin, Mayfields’ MD, who has been responsible for delivering some of Crest Nicholson’s and Berkeley Group’s award-winning schemes.”