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 Fieldhas 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.
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
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.
STOP THESE SALES NOW!
OUR BRIGHTON DOWNS PUBLIC
SELLING OFF OUR DOWNS NOW
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.
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.
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.
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.
hook or by crook these sales must be stopped now!!