The Leader of the Eastbourne group of Conservative councillors has spoken out on the result of the council’s opinion poll on the downland sale.
Cllr Tony Freebody reflected on the overwhelming majority of residents who chose to cut services rather than sell the freehold of four South Downs farms.
He said, “It doesn’t surprise me, I’m quite pleased. I don’t believe it was done the right way, but I’m pleased with the result that they are not going to sell the leasehold of the farms.”
Referring to the Eastbourne Review pitting the sale of the farms against cuts to public services, he said, “There was no talk about cutting services 18 months ago until he [Cllr David Tutt] started to put the Review together.
“People voted against selling the downland farms – not for cuts to services.
“Well done to Sally Boys and Simon Boyle for putting the fight to the Lib Dem Council. They put some really good points across.
“Common sense has prevailed, at least the council has listened to the people of Eastbourne.”
Meanwhile, Brenda Pollack, Friends of the Earth’s South East campaigner, said, “This is fantastic news. We’re delighted that local people have shown they care passionately about their local countryside and nature - and that the council has listened.
“The vote showed that residents really wanted these farms kept in public ownership, giving the council ultimate control on how the land is used.
“We realise councils are facing really difficult decisions due to severe financial cuts – but these chalk downs are unique and should never have been considered for sale.”