Public consultation on the future of the Eastbourne Downs

30 October 2019 | Posted in SWT News , Community , land-disposals
Public consultation on the future of the Eastbourne Downs
Gemma Harding

Eastbourne Borough Council will be holding a public consultation day about the future management of the Eastbourne Downs on Wednesday 6 November in Eastbourne Town Hall.

You can drop in anytime between 12pm and 8pm.

Following an initial consultation in January, this is an important opportunity to influence the Council’s plans for protecting and enhancing the Eastbourne Downs through the production of a Whole Estate Plan. Much more detail should be presented this time, so Sussex Wildlife Trust will be attending and we are encouraging as many people as possible to drop in on the day.

The Eastbourne Downs Estate is a fantastic public resource and as such it should be managed for public benefit. The Sussex Wildlife Trust wants a Whole Estate Plan which prioritises:

  • Fully restoring our damaged downland, recovering our rare chalk grassland with its wonderful wildlife
  • More sensitive, chemical-free agriculture, to protect our chalk aquifer drinking water
  • Managing the urban fringe woodland to create a diverse mixed woodland that enhances wildlife and captures CO2
  • More quality public access and accessibility across the Downs, not just confined to the coastal strip
  • An improved visitor experience, extolling the wonders of what should be the jewel in Eastbourne's crown and a gateway to the South Downs National Park.

 Please drop in and make your voice heard. This is a precious resource that should be protected and enhanced for long-term public benefit. 

Comments

  • 30 Oct 2019 16:03:00

    The borough council’s leaflet has sheep in the picture, SWT’s doesn’t have any livestock despite showing grassland. SWT’s aims are laudable but the management of the land without livestock could be very expensive. There are huge issues revolving around livestock and carbon footprinting, changes in diet, Brexit, public access and dogs which the plan will need to think through.

  • Claire Saxby:

    30 Oct 2019 18:08:00

    Thank you SWT for bringing this to my attention. I will definitely be there.

  • Phil Belden:

    31 Oct 2019 13:19:00

    Sheep: it’s important to look at the detail.
    Intensive agriculture & horticulture are deeply damaging: high CO2 output, chemicals, water demand, global commodity supply chain & transport miles, animal welfare, methane, habitat & species loss etc. This is the area that needs strong campaigning for radical change.
    Extensive farming is very different. Permanent grassland locks up carbon; low density, chemical-free sensitive grazing is vital to conserve our internationally rare chalk grassland & its precious biodiversity, protects our cultural heritage and ensures clean drinking water (no polluting nitrates in the aquifer) & enables open public access & accessibility (with responsible dog-owners). This is what we need to demand for our Eastbourne Downs – being in public ownership, we have the power to achieve it.
    The impressive woodland swathe, that stretches all along the western edge of the town is badly suffering from Ash Die-back Disease. This needs selective felling for safety & to enable re-stocking with a healthy mix of native broadleaf tree species, providing another resource for carbon capture to combat damaging climate change.
    Aim – open rolling downland pasture & wooded slopes – Eastbourne’s two green lungs for clean air & our health.

  • Evie sier:

    01 Nov 2019 13:40:00

    It is so important to look after our downs, apart from being a very important visitor attraction and the end of he South Downs way. It is a haven for wildlife. More effort should be made to rewind large areas of the South Downs, which will help combat climate change.

  • Henry Brown:

    04 Nov 2019 21:48:00

    When looking at this list of priorities for the WEP it’s clear to see that the current tenant farmers are already achieving these criteria. There is a fantastic network of public footpaths in place. The furniture (gates and stiles) could do with better upkeep (I understand that public funding for this is lacking) but otherwise access on the Downland estate is highly privileged. As a consequence of public access, unfortunately, it is the wildlife which suffers by the relentless disturbance.

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