Severing their own green finger

, 23 October 2018
Severing their own green finger
Adonis blue butterfly (c) Nigel Kingston

By Jess Price
Conservation Officer

Brighton and Hove City Council’s (BHCC) own website states: ‘Whitehawk Hill is an ancient habitat designated a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) with areas of species-rich chalk grassland supporting colonies of Adonis and Chalkhill Blue butterflies. From the top there are panoramic views over the city to the downs and the sea, including the Isle of Wight on a clear dayAncient chalk grassland is internationally important – it is one of Britain’s rarest and richest habitats, with threatened species including Adonis Blue butterfly and orchids.

So why do BHCC plan to damage this vital green space by building five huge tower blocks on it in partnership with the Hyde Group?

The Sussex Wildlife Trust completely accepts the need for affordable housing, especially in an area with such a high disparity between wages and living costs[1]. But this should not be at the expense of one of the City’s most valuable wild spaces. 

Whitehawk Hill LNR links the city with the South Downs National Park and acts as a green lung, delivering services that we all rely on including filtering our drinking water, absorbing carbon, feeding our pollinators and providing a much loved recreational space. With so little space protected for wildlife in the City, we can’t let a precedent for developing Local Nature Reserves be set.

The Homes for Brighton and Hove partnership wants local people to let them know what they think about the proposal – to help guide their planning application to BHCC – but the deadline is tomorrow 24th October.  Please fill out their survey and let them know that a Local Nature Reserve is not an appropriate location for new housing.

Areas designated for their wildlife value should be cherished, not degraded.

[1] Lloyds Bank’s Affordable Cities Review.

Leave a comment


  • Judy chard:

    This is a beautiful area… WHY would you WANT to desecrate it…. Be wise choose somewhere more appropriate

    23 Oct 2018 18:57:00

  • Yvonne:

    Please don’t build in the area of special interest on Whitehawk Hill.

    For the sake of our planet, wildlife, countryside, and people in Brighton and in this country.

    I find it surprising Brighton and Hove City councils are allowing building on this site.

    Hoping that you see how vital it is, and listen to nature conservationists like the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

    Thank you for reading this,

    Mrs Yvonne Habkirk

    23 Oct 2018 19:11:00

  • Isobel Grant:

    No no no. Leave the wildlife alone.

    23 Oct 2018 20:01:00

  • Jane Durnford:

    It would be very wrong to build houses on this nature reserve. It is a valuable link to provide a ‘green corridor’ in our landscape that has already lost so many natural areas. It is an asset for local people to enjoy unspoiled beauty and experience their connection with nature. While people need homes it should not be at the cost of this irreplaceable reserve.

    23 Oct 2018 21:56:00

  • Amanda Bishop:

    A local nature reserve is not the place to be building tower blocks. We need to protect this space.

    24 Oct 2018 08:13:00

  • Helen Smith:

    Really important to preserve these soeciak fragments of wildlife in a city.

    24 Oct 2018 08:24:00

  • Elaine Tiffin:

    It is unacceptable & downright inappropriate to build on this land! Please cease & desist!

    24 Oct 2018 08:36:00

  • Nichole Brennan:

    This needs to be looked at again, This is not the place for 5 high rise flats, it will not even serve the community

    24 Oct 2018 08:41:00

  • Amanda Sherratt:

    Our natural spaces are so valuable. They should build in brown field sites if at all possible.

    24 Oct 2018 08:44:00

  • Robert Morris:

    LNRs should not be sacrificed for housing developments. Alternative sites for housing should be identified and developed.

    24 Oct 2018 08:50:00

  • Richard Amey:

    A reserve is what it says it is: an area kept because of its value and importance to us all. Build on this space and what is left of value for the new residents on their doorstep, or of importance for them to preserve?

    24 Oct 2018 09:48:00

  • paul weston:

    This is not right and typical of BHCC not to think things through properly

    24 Oct 2018 16:19:00

  • Margaret Hammond:

    For goodness sake haven’t we destroyed enough wildlife habitat as it is? Leave us something, please!I have lived within sight of Whitehawk Hill all of my 71 years, please allow my great grandchildren the pleasure of doing the same.

    24 Oct 2018 16:23:00

  • Billy:

    I once lived in Brighton before the toxicity of the city got to me.One of the few places to escape to was Whitehawk Hill ,the air was clear and there were few people around.Brighton is already overpopulated with very few natural spaces within reach.Building there will be like putting a noose around your neck.

    26 Oct 2018 04:17:00