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Downland sales halted again

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

January meeting cancelled

Unfortunately we’ve had to cancel our January meeting – which was due to take place on Wednesday 11 January.

We’ll be back next month at the Hop & Vine at 7.30pm on Wednesday 8 February.

Hop & Vine pub, Fiveways, 300 Ditchling Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 6JG. Bus routes 26 and 46 stop close by the venue. Contact Monica if you have any questions.

Brighton Downland reprieved

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

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.

Parking mad in Stanmer

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.

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