BHFOE was part of a local network called Keep Our Downs Public which formed to oppose the sell-off of Brighton’s downland. It was successful in doing this and in the process convinced the Council (with all-party support) to back the bid for a National Park.
BHFOE played a big part in the publicity around the ploughing up of the Downs at Offham Down by Farmer Harmer 3 weeks before the 1997 General Election. It worked with other local groups, including Lewes Friends of the Earth and other Lewes based groups to monitor the site and to organise its unploughing.
The group, working with others, also helped organise various public meetings across the Downs, a big event at Stanmer Park and led on collecting 21,000 signatures that David Lepper, MP for Brighton Pavilion, presented to Parliament in January 1999.
Chris Todd a stalwart BHFOE Group member, has worked tirelessly alongside others for the South Downs Campaign since then. The group will continue to monitor the development of the National Park and work to ensure we get the best possible resource right on our doorstep.
Click here for the final Final South Downs Campaign Newsletter
Currently the biggest threats to the National Park are from housing development and the pressure to build on the urban fringe around the city and potentially in the National Park in the long term. Another big threat comes from the Government’s push to expand the A27 which is going to lead to a lot more traffic in and around the National Park as well as undermining public transport and increasing congestion and pollution in surrounding towns and cities as people switch to the car. See South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment’s website (we are a member) for more information on the A27.