National park boss urges rethink on downland sales
The chief executive of the South Downs National Park Authority has spoken out about the sale of land by local authorities including Brighton and Hove City Council.
He called on Brighton and Hove – and Eastbourne Borough Council – to rethink their plans.
Trevor Beattie said: “Local authorities can dispose of their assets as they see fit and we understand the financial pressures many now face.
“But these countryside sites were secured for the people in the 1930s by farsighted councils and campaigners who wanted to protect our landscapes and water supply in perpetuity.
“They are not just local assets, they are national legacies, now in a national park.
“In every case we have made our concerns clear and called for a rethink about these countryside sales.
“The landscapes of the South Downs are precious assets which are central to the distinctive identities of our local authorities, providing the context for the rest of their budgets and helping to attract investment.
“We urge councils to consider their responsibilities and, if they believe that there really is no alternative, put in place covenants or conditions to protect the land from damaging uses which might not be caught by the planning system.”
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