Fwd: URGENT secret Downland sales B&HCC

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Fwd: URGENT secret Downland sales B&HCC


Dear Adastra folk

See below and attached UPDATE and ORIGINAL piece. This is extremely urgent, cos these sales are proceeding right now.

Please email these council party leaders or your ward councillor: -

- [hidden email], [hidden email], [hidden email], [hidden email], [hidden email], [hidden email], [hidden email]

Dave Bangs

Brighton Council Downland Sales

The situation is even worse than we thought

UPDATE: 27/10/16 KEEP OUR DOWNS PUBLIC Btn. 620815 or 07889302229


We now know that several of the sales have gone ahead already and that several others are advertised on the open market by Savilles, the Council’s land agents.  


Two of the sites are within SSSI’s (i.e. nationally important nature conservation sites) and yet no word of this is mentioned in the sales advertisements.


The Junipers, the old Sussex Wildlife Trust Saddlescombe Nature Reserve, 3 acres, has been sold to a private buyer for the paltry sum of £35,000. This is the bulk of the sole remaining site for Juniper (a rare and declining native conifer) in East Sussex, and a well-known site for rare orchid species, bats and much else. It is part of an SSSI.


The Devils Dyke Field has been sold for an unknown sum to a private buyer, despite being bounded by National Trust land.


Park Wall Farm smallholding, Falmer, 10 acres, has been sold for £175,000: less than the price of a modest flat in Brighton. This is a crucial part of the open Downland setting of old Falmer village.


Additionally, two nearby parcels of land on the edge of Poynings have been marketted and one of them sold with some prospect of built development.


We estimate that the total sum gained so far from these sales is around £290,000: below the price of one suburban semi in many parts of Brighton. This is a pathetic sum for such dreadful losses of land with multiple public values.


There’s more to come, if we can’t stop this bleed immediately...


The Racecourse, the large, circa 55 acre Poynings arable field embracing all the land below the Devil’s Dyke, is targetted for sale. This is a wonderful fossil site – as good a Bridport Cliffs, Dorset, for fossils from the tropical seas of the Early Cretaceous, and the landing ground for Dyke hang gliders. This is the field which appears in all the Victorian postcards of the Devils Dyke.


Plumpton Hill, 67.4 acres of ancient wildflower pastures on the South Downs Way, mostly SSSI, is advertised for £150,000 – just the sort of money that a City shooting syndicate could stump up. It is a hill top Sacred Site of the Ancient People of the Bronze Age, and has five of their round barrows overlooking and protecting their deserted villages.


Please, councillors of all parties...Get an immediate STOP ORDER on Savilles’ marketting of this land.







Brighton Council is about to flog off crucial parts of its Downland Estate, including important fragments of landscape at the Devils Dyke, Newtimber Hill, Plumpton Hill, and Stanmer Park, and homes which should be available for workers on the Estate. Two of these sites include parts of nationally important Sites of Special Scientific Interest; one contains a Scheduled Ancient Monument; and one is a superb fossil site.  

We do not believe that councillors are aware of the nature or implications of these sales. The Brighton Downland Estate, at more than 12,000 acres, is the largest and most important public asset within the new South Downs National Park. These sales are taking place without public consultation, decided in confidential Council Committees. We have little detail, though we understand the justification is to part-fund the Stanmer Park restoration and gain general revenue.


These sales open the door to privatisation of Brighton’s entire Downland Estate. Without democratic public accountability we must expect threats to public usage, neglect, damage to important wildlife habitat, inappropriate development, and more shooting and hunting. It’s happened before. St Mary’s Farm, sold by Brighton Council, had ancient pasture and woods bulldozed and it’s now a game bird shoot. Woods sold by the Forestry Commission are now without public access, neglected, and used for shooting. A golf course sold by Worthing Council lost its public access, and planned access works for the disabled were dropped.


This is in the context of Eastbourne Council's proposed sale of its 4,000 acre Downland estate, which provides the setting for Beachy Head and includes a range of nationally important wildlife and archaeological sites. With government pressure for local authority land sales, we are faced with the prospect of the new South Downs National Park being asset-stripped of its core publicly owned estates. This will stymie the National Park’s founding project – for the restoration of its range-grazed, wildlife-rich, chalk grassland sheepwalks – and open the door to multiple threats to the Downs landscape.


The sites for sale include: - Plumpton Hill scarp up to the South Downs Way. A nationally important wildlife and archaeological wildlife site, with Bronze Age round barrows and many rarities. The Saddlescombe nature reserve on Newtimber Hill. Part of the site of the only remaining Juniper population on the eastern South Downs, with many rarities. Devil’s Dyke Field. Part of the main south facing viewpoint of the Devil’s Dyke. Poynings Field. The landing ground for the Dyke hang-gliders, and a crucial part of the Devil’s Dyke’s landscape setting. A wonderful fossilling site, with ammonites, nautiloids, and crustaceans. Ridge Farm Fields and parts of Tenants Lain Shaw. A Gateway to the National Park, and the first real countryside on the walk into the wide Downs from Falmer. Homes on the Downland Estate are crucial to the retention of staff committed to the long term management of this public Downland.


By hook or by crook these sales must be stopped now!!

BrightonDownsSalesIndiePiece.docx (24K) Download Attachment
BrghtonDwnsLndSalesUPDATE.docx (17K) Download Attachment