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While we welcome the proposals to redevelop Preston Barracks, we are objecting to the big increase in car parking on traffic and air pollution grounds.  Nearby roads already suffer above legal limits for nitrogen dioxide and this development could make things worse.  It’s likely that levels of nitrogen dioxide will take longer to fall below legal limits and therefore the development could be illegal as it currently stands.  High Court rulings have stressed the need to reduce levels of air pollution “as soon as possible”.  The planning application is being decided on Wednesday 27th September by the City Council.

It is somewhat ironic that the University of Brighton is behind a development that will increase air pollution.  Apart from the fact that it actively promotes its green credentials, its vice chancellor was recently warning of the need to urgently tackle air pollution.  At the same time its academics have done groundbreaking work in this field and have strongly criticised the Government’s poor response to the whole issue.

It’s time the University put its money where its mouth is.  This is a much needed and welcome development in many ways, let down by an out of date approach to transport.  It is quite easy to resolve.  Cap the car parking at current levels for the whole site.  That way traffic levels and pollution will not be made worse and public health will not be at risk.

If a university with air pollution experts cannot get it right, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Currently in Brighton & Hove there are around 175 premature deaths due to air pollution, mostly due to traffic.  For most pollutants there are no known safe levels.

BHFOE news release Preston Barracks

BHFOE response to Preston Barracks application

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As the deadline to comment on plans for 700 new homes in Hove’s Toads Hole Valley passes, we’re challenging the city’s planners to be more ambitious.

Although we recognise that development of this site presents many opportunities for our city, we feel many of the plans are too timid. With such a blank canvas, we want to see more aspiration to build a community that puts people’s health and happiness first.

We want to see a place where it is safe for youngsters and the infirm to be out in the streets, interacting with friends and neighbours.  Where the car doesn’t dominate  and is largely kept out of the development save for loading and deliveries.

Chris Todd, planning and transport campaigner for Brighton & Hove Friend of the Earth

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a development that helps people lead active and healthy lifestyles, rather than chain them to the mistakes of the past.

That’s our challenge to the planners.

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To Carol

Carol Dawes died quietly in her sleep after a fight with cancer, on Saturday 8 April 2017.

monica carol run on sun in the DIp

Carol in the foreground on one of our stalls.

When I first came to Brighton in 2008, through a friend I found Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth, and Carol. She was an active member and it quickly became clear that she was a long-term and dedicated environmental campaigner.

As a young woman she was at The Greenham Common Peace Camp 1981/2 where women chained themselves to the base fence in protest against nuclear weapons. One of history’s most famous feminist protests.

Moving to Brighton in the late 1990s, she quickly became involved with the fight for the South Downs and safeguarding Offham Down Site of Special Scientific Interest from further damage, which helped re-ignite the National Park campaign.

Clean energy not gas please

Carol (front and centre) joining other activists to protest against fracking

She regularly organised stalls and events on behalf of the group and was always keen to help. She was a great believer in “face to face chats” with people, probably stemming from her market trader background.

More recently she worked on the clean energy and bees campaign and was a strong supporter of the Biosphere. She subsequently was involved with the fight against fracking in Balcombe where she spent many days as a legal observer.

Even when ill she was still helping organise demonstrations in Brighton to raise awareness about the poor air quality.

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Carol campaigning next to Brighton’s Clock Tower

She was a stalwart and we will miss Carol very much as a campaigner, a lovely friend and a fellow spirit.

Dear Carol…thank you for all you have done: your good work will go on. 

Monica

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Our next monthly meeting takes place on Wednesday 8 February at the The Hop & Vine. Join us to find out how you can get involved in upcoming group activities.

When: Wednesday 8 February at 7.30pm
Where: The Hop & Vine pub, Fiveways, 300 Ditchling Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 6JG.

Click here for map and directions. Bus routes 26 and 46 stop close by the venue. 

Contact Monica if you have any questions.

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We’ve received the following message from a Stanmer Village resident about the proposed plans in Stanmer Park:

Just to say thank you for motivating your supporters in objecting to the proposed works in Stanmer Park, particularly for the proposed new car park on the Patchway.

So you don’t miss this in the (huge) plans, the proposed new access road to this car park would cut across the mound in front of the church, where most of the trees would be lost.Irrespective of any permanent and intrusive changes to this historically sensitive and heavily protected area, this would also result in the loss of roosting and habitat for the bats and birds that use this area, including the remaining birds of prey in the Park who forage on the rats in the barn area.

 

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City Councillors have rejected a recommendation to resume the sale of Plumpton Hill and Poynings Field. The sales had been suspended in December, as a result of widespread outrage at the prospect of flogging off these vital parts of the City’s historic 12,500 acre Downland Estate.

At a meeting on 19 January Conservative and Green councillors passed a motion requiring the sale of the two vulnerable sites to be referred to a new Policy Review Panel. The sales were intended to part-fund the controversial Stanmer Park Project and to contribute to the alleviation of the Council’s debt.

All the Downland that has been sold or is threatened with sale is within the South Downs National Park.

Keep Our Downs Public is a coalition of local people which was formed in 1994-5 to successfully fight the proposed privatisation of the whole Downland Estate by the then ruling Labour Party. A new Keep Our Downs Public group has now been formed in Eastbourne to fight similar Downs sell-off proposals by Eastbourne Council over 3,000 acres of Downland behind Beachy Head.

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Join us for a photo opportunity at 3:40pm, Thursday, 19 January 2017 – outside Hove Town Hall. 

We’re outraged at the news Brighton & Hove City Council appears to be continuing with its Downland sales.  We’ll be protesting before the next meeting of the Council’s Policy, Resources and Growth committee meeting.

We’re concerned that councillors are not being given the full information and the report for the committee meeting contains inaccurate and misleading information. We want to see a full review of the Downland estate before any further sales go ahead.

The land was bought for conservation purposes and bequeathed to us to look after for our children and grandchildren.  We should not be flogging it off for a quick buck.  That is a betrayal of both past and future generations.

Chris Todd, Brighton & Hove Friends of the Earth

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