Fwd: lobby councillors to stop Brighton Downland sales

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Fwd: lobby councillors to stop Brighton Downland sales

D BANGS


LOBBYING BRIGHTON COUNCILLORS TO STOP THE DOWNLAND SALES

 

Please lobby Brighton Councillors to stop these sales. The notes will help you write your objection, which is best put in your own personal way. Below are the addresses of the Brighton Council P&R Committee members who MUST be written to by 7th December objecting to the sales. (The Committee meets on 8th December to decide whether to make the STOP on sales permanent). Additionally, please send your objections to your own ward councillors.

 

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[hidden email]

[hidden email]

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[hidden email]

 

FINANCE

 

1. The area of open land ALREADY SOLD is c. 20 acres, which with the sold cottages has accrued c. 94% of the likely total ££ receipts, though it covers only 20% of the for–sale area.

 

The area of land STILL TO BE SOLD is c. 100 acres, which may accrue a mere 6% of the total receipts, though it totals 80% of the for-sale area.

 

2. The Council has already had its ‘pound of flesh’ from the covert sales of cottages and small land parcels. If they sold 20 cottages and grounds (and we do not know exactly how many) that could total some £4 million. The sales of other land parcels has brought in c. £390,000. So the receipts so far total c. £4,390,000.

 

3. The remaining 2 sales (Plumpton Hill and Poynings Field) will bring in very little additional money: less than £300,000, though they will incur real damage to their future security as conservation assets.  Thus: -

-          Both properties are subject to secure agricultural tenancies and will therefore only fetch circa 50% of their value at vacant possession.

-          Plumpton Hill (67.4 acres) has a guide price of the pathetic sum of c. £2,225 per acre and Poynings Field (25 acres) will be unlikely to get more than £6000 per acre.

-          Both properties, on those figures, together will bring in only some £300,000, which is the price of a single modest suburban family home in Brighton...for the loss of almost 100 acres of high quality Downscape.

 

4. We do not NEED to sell those remaining two important properties, because there are other routes to acquire the funds for the Stanmer Park restoration plans.

 

The result of BHCC’s £5m lottery bid will be known shortly – what matched-funding is being levered in, other than from SD National Park and Plumpton College partners, to achieve Stanmer Park’s proper restoration. With so much potential ready cash on the table, it should be relatively easy to attract more funds to multiply this sum. For example:

  • To develop Stanmer as a more self-sufficient park the lottery has an attractive Heritage Enterprise grant;
  • As a major visitor attraction with great an eco-tourism potential, the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership would be keen to support appropriate infrastructure and employment opportunities (and BHCC's role in the Greater Brighton Economic Partnership should help this);
  • Stanmer provides the ideal outdoor (and indoor) classroom for the hundreds of schools and colleges in and around Brighton and the Downs – there are many educational trusts and funds that could be tapped to realise this desirable aim (and BHCC has an external funding expertise to source such monies);
  • Government grants are available for a range of work and BHCC has already spent DfT money on more sustainable travel links to Stanmer along the Lewes Road … extend such projects into Stanmer;
  • Interest rates are at an all-time low, a public loan could be secured, and with the popularity of a restored Stanmer Park the money paid back, with interest, in a very short space of time.

 

 

PUBLIC VALUES.

 

These 2 remaining properties have multiple public qualities/values.

 

Plumpton Hill is mostly part of an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest - a national measure of wildlife value). This designation, under private ownership, will NOT protect it from damage and inappropriate management. It also has a SAM (Scheduled Ancient Monument) upon it: Bronze Age burial mounds. It is one of the prominent viewpoints from the South Downs Way over the forested Weald.

 

Poynings Field is a key part of the landscape setting – the framing – of the Devils Dyke heritage landscape. It is also a vital part of the setting of Poynings village, which will be vulnerable to pressure for built development in private ownership. It is part of the landing grounds for hang gliders from the Dyke. It is an excellent fossilling site for sea creatures of the Early Cretaceous, and is the only Early Cretaceous site in public ownership on the Brighton Downs.

 






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