Sussex farmer turns down £275million offer for 550 acres of land

Mayfield Market Towns Ltd want to develop the site and build 10,000 new homes


A West Sussex farmer has turned down an astonishing £275 million offer to buy his land.

Robert Worsley has been farming the 550 acres of land for the last 15 years and was offered the money by developers who want to build housing on the land.

Mayfield Market Towns Ltd are said to have approached Mr Worsley two years ago, the Daily Mail reports, and they have said that the land has the potential to be developed into 10,000 homes.

The amount he has been offered for the land is around 100 times the actual value of the farm, but the father of two is more concerned with the future of the area.

Mr Worsley said: "I have been courted with a potential £275m to sell my farm of 550 acres and I've said no. I believe in leaving a legacy for generations to come" the Sunday Times reports.

He added: "We are a rural community who don't want this development, who don't want to see Sussex ruined.

"It's not really about me. It's about the fact that Sussex is being eroded away. That is the story I would like to tell.

"This presumption that we can just sell Sussex off as if it were gold reserves – we can never get it back."

According to the Daily Mail, Mr Worsley is not the only local landowner to be approached by the firm, others in areas such as Twineham, near Hayward's Heath have also been offered significant amounts of money.

A group of locals have formed a group, Locals Against Mayfield Building Sprawl (Lambs), to oppose the land development.

Arundel and South Downs' local Conservative MP, Nick Herbert, has also weighed in on the controversy.

He said: "I have not encountered anyone in my constituency who wants me to support this development.

Mr Herbert also added: "I understand that landowners have been told by this developer, 'You know you might as well give in – it's going to come anyway so you might as well accept our cheque'.

"The tactics of this company are really shoddy bullying tactics and it has created a huge amount of local resentment and blighted this area."

A director at Mayfield Market Towns, Lee Newlyn, has said: 'There is a huge shortage of housing in this region and we believe that delivering these new homes in the form of a new town, with all the proper infrastructure and facilities in place, is a much more sustainable alternative to add-on development in and around existing towns and villages.'

On the company's website the developers have confirmed that they are in discussion with landowners across Horsham and Mid Sussex for a New Market Town.

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