Green space site in Saltdean to be offered to community groups

Posted On 27 Jan 2023 at 11:54 am

Community groups have been given a head start to buy scrubland in Saltdean which they have fought to protect from development.

Residents successfully applied for special protection for three green patches on The Mount Estate, known locally as The Greens, after its previous owners tried and failed to build houses there.

They want to turn the strips into allotments or an orchard or a different use which will mean the badgers, reptiles and other wildlife can stay there.

In November 2021, the strips were made an asset of community value (ACV) which means if they are put up for sale, community groups a six month moratorium on the sale to raise money for a bid on the land before it is sold on the open market.

This month, owners Hatley Estates informed the council of its intention to sell and a disposal notice was issued giving residents until 10 July to get an offer together.

Rottingdean councillor Bridget Fishleigh said: “The problem is we have no idea how much these sites might fetch at auction.

“They have changed hands multiple times as developers realise that they can’t be built on.

“They could be worthless, or a developer might take a long-term punt.

“However, these sites require extensive and immediate maintenance with an upfront cost of at least £45,000.

“We would welcome any advice on their value and, of course, if anyone would like to buy the plots and give them to our community that would be amazing.”

A spokesperson from Saltdean Residents Association said that their desire is to keep the greens as public, open land but is checking with its membership on how best to do this.

Hatley Estates bought the greens as part of a wider portfolio of properties at auction in 2021.

The previous owners, St Modwen Properties, had one applications to build two houses on one of the strips rejected in 2016 because of the loss of open space.

St Modwen appealed, but this was dismissed for the same reason.

Another application aimed to change the use of the land from undeveloped scrub land to private residential gardens, but St Modwen withdrew this application in February 2017.

A spokesperson for Hatley Estates said: “A notable number of the sites within the portfolio are not required and are therefore being offered for sale and sold individually.

“These include the greens in Saltdean.

“As we are obliged to do, we have served notice of our intent to sell the sites to the local community groups and are engaged with them on the possibility of their acquiring some or all the sites.”

  1. Mr Andrew Camper Reply

    Owning one of the properties backing onto these spaces I have often felt the local government should be pressed to buy them for allotments. That only requires 6 residents to request them for the local authority to have to act. The land is not practical for many purposes it has water mains supplies laid in in, also badger sets although not sure how used they are now. Access to many is too small for roads in, the obvious use is indeed allotments much better than the overgrown mess they often are currently. I often have to fight to take a meter reading for our water meter in there.

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