Protect Brighton's downland, Greens urge council

Posted On 13 Oct 2010 at 4:07 pm

The council is being urged to ensure that 100 acres of land in Brighton cannot be used for building.

The land – next to Ditchling Road – is being returned to agricultural use by Brighton and Hove City Council.

Now a Green councillor has asked the council to designate the area as “public access land” under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Pete West, a Green councillor for St Peter’s and North Laine, said that the move would allow open public access to the land between Wild Park and Stanmer Park forever.

He said: “I’m very glad the council aims to let this land for grazing, gaining income and encouraging wildlife.

“It is council policy to expand the amount of access land adjacent to the urban area, so as this area lies between two public parks and is already well used for recreation, it’s a prime case for that.

“Yet the council is refusing to dedicate this as open access land.

“If it won’t grant access here, then where will it?

“For far too long under successive Labour and Conservative administrations the council has primarily viewed our vast publicly owned downland estate as an income stream and development land bank.

“Not a single one of those 13,000 acres has yet been voluntarily dedicated for open access and safeguarded forever.

“My belief is that the council wishes to keep its options open, so I challenge it to put this land beyond temptation, dedicating it for open access, putting it off limits for building forever.”

The council plans to fence the land and let it on a ten-year lease for cattle grazing but has concerns about putting off potential tenants.

Councillor West added: “With the high number of footpaths planned, the land will effectively be open access anyway, so the argument that dedicating this as statutory open access will put off potential tenants just doesn’t hold water.”

  1. Max Glaskin Reply

    One hundred years ago or more land was given to the people of Brighton by local landowners so that our wonderful public parks could be created. Such philanthropy does not seem to exist today so we must look to our own democratic body, the Council, to protect our open spaces and give us the right to roam on the land that we, as residents, own.

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