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As part of Keep Our Downs Public we welcome the council’s decision to stop the sale of vital downland around the city and review of the Council’s assets.

This is brilliant news for the people of Brighton & Hove and for our downland.  Our thanks go out to the Conservative and Green councillors who took our concerns seriously and worked together to stop these sales.

Now we need to make sure that there are no attempts to do this again. This is an opportunity for the Council to take its stewardship of the downland more seriously.  There’s far more that could be done, such as increasing access or wildlife, that would bring greater benefits for local people.

Members of our group joined protesters greeted councillors as they arrived for a committee meeting on Thursday 8 December. Our thanks also go Dave Bangs of Keep Our Downs Public, wholed a deputation to the committee about the downland sales

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Come and show our objections to the Downland sales at the Policy & Resources Committee, who will be deciding at this meeting whether or not to HALT the remaining sales of two sites in our Downland estate.

Thursday 8 December at 3.30pm
Where: Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, BN3 3BQ

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/events/1821679421382752/

The Green councillors in this committee, Ollie Sykes and Phelim MacCafferty, have entered a motion to this end.

We’ll gather at 3.30 promptly, for photos and to be there as councillors arrive for the meeting just before 4pm.. Some of us are going to the meeting, all public are welcome.

This is a critical meeting, where the final decisions on these sales may be made. Let’s show them what we think.

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Brighton & Hove City Council has proposed a superstore sized car park at in the middle of Stanmer Park. Whilst we accept the need to expand the car parks around the edges of the park we object to the idea of increasing the amount of car parking by over 50%. It’s a major development in the National Park and could set a dangerous precedent.

We’ve formally objected to the proposal and urge you to do the same before Thursday 8 December. Write to planning@southdowns.gov.uk and say you object to the massive expansion of car parking at the heart of Stanmer Park. The proposal will

  • undermine current bus services to and from the park
  • make the park less safe to play in
  • harm the setting of Stanmer House and the church with the extra traffic it will generate
  • increase pollution and congestion
  • set a damaging precedent for development elsewhere in the National Park.

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We were pleased to join around 40 groups and organisations who braved the cold weather to demonstrate the proposed funding cuts to parks and open spaces funding.

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We’ve already seen a 25% cut in real terms since 2008/09 and are worried that this could be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Joining us before Brighton & Hove City Council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee were:

  • City in Bloom
  • CPRE Sussex
  • Friends of Hollingbury & Burstead Woods
  • Friends of Preston Park
  • Friends of Queens Park
  • Friends of St Anne’s Wells Gardens
  • Friends of The Level
  • Friends of Whitehawk Hill
  • Keep The Ridge Green

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We welcome the news that Brighton & Hove City Council appears to have called a halt to its contentious download sales.

We recently teamed up with Eastbourne and District Friends of the Earth to join more than 150 people protest the sell-off of more than 3,000 acres of publicly owned downland. The downland estate is an important part of our heritage and vital for our health and well-being.  It’s too precious to be sold off.

We’re pleased that our campaigning as part of Keep Our Downs Public has had an impact and that we’ve been listened to.  The sales haven’t been handled in the most transparent and open way and this has caused great upset and concern.

But we won’t be celebrating until we hear that the sell-off has been permanently stopped.

Join the Keep Our Downs Facebook group to get involved.

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While we welcome the redevelopment of Preston Barracks we’re concerned that developers will subsidise car use by providing 750 car parking spaces –  at a likely cost of £9 – £15 million.

Given that Lewes Road has such good public transport and cycle links, the development could be an opportunity to reduce congestion by having fewer parking spaces. Raising the amount of car parking on the site will increase congestion and pollution in the Lewes Road area.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to reduce congestion and pollution and improve public health.  Yet developers are ignoring their wider social responsibility. The Council needs to take a strong line on this to safeguard public health and the local economy, particularly in light of the recent High Court ruling on air pollution.

Chris Todd. Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth

We want to see the developers invest far more in sustainable transport and improving the bus, rail, cycle and pedestrian infrastructure instead.

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

When: Wednesday 9 November 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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Thanks to everyone who took part in the demonstration outside Barclays Bank on North Street as part of our fracking campaign. We were joined by members of the Green Party, Brighton Climate Action Network and SERA – the Labour Party’s environmental campaign affiliate SERA too.

Fracking company Third Energy – funded by Barclays – have recently given approval to frack in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. We had a great turn out and talked to lots of the bank’s customers about the dangers of fracking.

A big thank you everyone who heard about the demo on Sussex Radio and came along.

We’d like to also thank Glad Rags for the kind donation of fancy dress outfits for the event, and for our air quality stunt earlier in the month. Alongside a costume hire service Glad Rags also run educational workshops on things like recycled fashion and core sewing skills.

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Brighton and Hove Friends of The Earth held a demonstration to highlight the fact that air pollution is not just a problem in London but one that communities face all over the country. 

The Clock Tower in Brighton is one of the most heavily polluted places within the city.  While, pollution levels have fallen over recent years, they are still above legal limits.  We’re convinced that more could be done more quickly to tackle this danger.

The justice-themed demo coincided with ClientEarth’s challenge to the Government over air quality targets. The UK Government agreed to implement the EU Clean Air Directive but is dragging its feet, and has failed to meet its own agreed targets to improve air quality in Britain. 

ClientEarth, a group of environmental lawyers, is back in the High Court taking action against the UK Government to force it to implement the realistic targets it accepted.

Everyone is at risk from bad air everywhere.  It’s not just a problem in London. The Clock Tower is one of several places within the city where people are exposed to illegal levels of toxic air pollution.  While the Government has a key role to play in committing more resources, the Council should be acting faster too.

Chris Todd, Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth

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DSC_0222Brighton and Hove Friends of the Earth volunteers Dave (that’s him in the picture), Carol, Zoe and Hazel enjoyed a sunny Sunday on 14th August at St. Anne´s Wells popular ´Rural Day´ festival in Hove.

This was the second time the group has help at stall at the popular festival. We had plenty of conversations  with visitors about national issues like helping bees and stopping fracking.  We also spoke to lots of people about local issues, such as air pollution. Plenty of membership forms were taken away and we look forward to welcoming yet more new faces to our group!

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