Ford Airfield

Barton Willmore were approached by Ford Parish Council in 2013 to assist with preparing a Masterplan for the redevelopment of land at Ford Airfield in Ford, West Sussex.

On behalf of Wates Developments Limited and Redrow Homes Southern, we have been working with the landowners, Parish Council, Neighbourhood Plan Group, Local Planning Authority and local stakeholders to bring forward the site for development.

The proposals will create an exciting, community-led place that delivers the aspirations of the local community in Ford, as advocated through the allocation of the site in the adopted Ford Parish Neighbourhood Plan and Arun District Local Plan for a residential-led mixed-use development.

The Masterplan for the site has been informed by the wide range of existing uses that neighbour the site. This has ensured that the proposals are well related to, not adversely affected by, and do not prejudice the operation of these uses. In particular, the wider Airfield accommodates a waste water treatment works, recycling facility, waste management/recycling facility and two industrial estates. It is also home to an open prison at HMP Ford to the east, an aerobic digestion plant and digestate lagoon to the north and a concrete batching plant to the west. Furthermore, a large proportion of the concrete runways remain at the Airfield and are used as a car boot, farmer’s market and market use on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The development will provide a high quality and sustainable community that will deliver a range of benefits for both the local area and District as a whole. It will achieve the following community objectives:

  • Take control of the future planning of the area.
  • Create a new ‘heart’ to the village.
  • Better connections for the local community.
  • Create local amenities, jobs and education opportunities.
  • Deliver local facilities and community infrastructure.
  • Retain Ford market.
  • Create affordable housing for local people.
  • Create housing for the elderly.

These objectives have formed the basis of the Neighbourhood Plan process from the outset.

The process has been genuinely community-led, with us helping to translate the local community’s vision for the site into a workable masterplan that secures much needed local facilities. The Ford Neighbourhood Plan Group instigated the initial discussions, thoughts, ideas and vision for the site and requested the preparation of a masterplan. The Neighbourhood Plan Group led the process and have informed and supported the proposals throughout.

Project Details

  • Largest Neighbourhood Plan allocation in the country
  • Up to 1,500 dwellings, including market and affordable housing
  • Employment space
  • Care home
  • Local centre, including retail, commercial and community and leisure floorspace
  • Land for a two-form entry primary school
  • Public open space, allotments, sports pitches and associated facilities.
  • Re-configuration of Ford Market
What was clear from the outset was that those living and working at Ford wanted change – but importantly – wanted to play a leading role in that change.
Rather than preparing plans on their behalf, it was important for the community to start with their own thoughts and brief, from which Plans could then be worked up. It was this approach that became the pattern through the entire process, where the community were in the lead and steering the proposals and process.
The willingness of all parties to openly engage in the plan-making process resulted in the creation of what is currently the largest single allocation in any neighbourhood plan in England – but more importantly – facilitated the delivery of the very things the community aspired to: a heart to the community; quality routes, paths and networks of open space, homes for local working people and a range of community facilities. These proposals then became incorporated into the Local Plan.

Robin Shepherd – Partner

Ford Airfield was shortlisted in the Stakeholder Engagement in Planning category at the Planning Awards 2020.