6 Apr 2009

South Downs National Park missing bits near to council estates

Just had this from Dave...


See LETTER BELOW ref: the newly declared South Downs National Park...there's an angle that the media coverage is missing, and it has something to do with class. Areas adjacent to council estates, plotlands, and other working class communities on the Brighton Downs have done much less well than the vast areas of countryside and rural township dominated by middle and owning class folk.

Question: How can you have a National Park of the chalk South Downs that misses out over five miles of SSSI chalk cliffs , including 2.5 miles in pristine form without any coastal engineering?...that misses out one of the ten best upstanding neolithic causewayed camps in Britain ?...that misses out one of the two best sites in the whole of Sussex for many classes of rare invertebrates ?...that misses out an urban fringe valley that is intervisible with vast adjacent areas of open Downland ??

Answer: You can do it if these sites are next to relatively poor residential areas, whose Downland users were without the advocates they needed to win designation for their loved sites.

Kipling and Parson Gilbert White are turning in their graves...and if they are not, then they go down in my estimation !!

Please circulate this missive,

Dave Bangs

Dear Letters Editor
See ATTACHED letter...also pasted in below
from Jane, Warren, Jan, Tony and myself, Dave Bangs
best wishes all


From: Jane Erin and others

c/o 32 Wickhurst Rise


BN41 2WB

3rd March 2009

To: The Argus Letters Editor

Dear friend

National Park status for the South Downs

Like all conservationists we celebrate the decision to designate the South Downs National Park. As campaigners for an inclusive Park boundary around the coastal conurbation of the Brighton Downs we need, however, to sound a more sombre note.

For the people of Brighton, Peacehaven and Newhaven were the only communities which substantially lost out in the Park boundary-making process. Many vitally important areas of chalk cliff and Down, historic and prehistoric value, and national importance for wildlife and geology will be excluded from the new Park.

Toad’s Hole Valley Hove, most of the Brighton Racecourse landscape including all of Whitehawk Hill, all of Newhaven’s chalk cliffs and Downland, all of Peacehaven’s cliffs and foreshore, and important areas around north and east Peacehaven were excluded from the Park, despite fulfilling all the criteria for inclusion.

This means that Lewes Tescos, the County Hall tower block, A27 Bypass and Brooks Industrial Estate will now be within the Park, whilst the unspoilt white cliffs of Newhaven and Whitehawk’s ancient stone age camp are now without the protection and resources the Park will bring.

What all these excluded sites have in common is that they are adjacent to areas of social deprivation whose residents have more immediate survival problems to contend with, which make fighting for the National Park difficult, though their communities love their Downland just as much as better off residents do.

By contrast, what all the areas newly to be included, (like Ditchling, Lewes, Midhurst and Petworth, as well as areas far from Downland like Alice Holt and Woolmer Forest) have in common is that they have many prosperous folk with the money, cultural resources and confidence to loudly argue for the protection of their bits of countryside.

The poorer folk of Hove, Brighton and the townships to its east have been let down once again by decision makers who listen better to the loud voices of the privileged than to the muted voices of the rest,


Jane Erin, ex- secretary Toad’s Hole Valleyside Wildlife Group,

Warren Carter, Moulsecoomb Forest Garden and Wildlife Project,

Dave Bangs, ex-chair Friends of Whitehawk Hill,

Jan Goodey, New Roots Allotment coordinator, Moulsecoomb,

Tony Greenstein, secretary Brighton Unemployed Workers Centre

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