Eastbourne residents asked for their views on the future of the town’s iconic downland

People are being asked their views on a 25-year environmental plan for Eastbourne’s iconic downland.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 1:46 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 3:17 pm
The view from Hope Point looking east at low tide - the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. Photograph by Gary Jones.

Eastbourne Borough Council is launching an eight-week consultation following Cabinet’s approval of the draft Downland Whole Estate Plan.

The council has been working closely with the South Downs National Park Authority on the development of this plan over the last 18 months, which focuses on conservation and preservation of the downland for future generations.

Councillor Jonathan Dow, Cabinet member for climate change, said, “It is a marker of the huge importance we place on caring for our beautiful downland, now and in the future, that we are set to be the first council to adopt a Whole Estate Plan.”

Trees on the South Downs at Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-191121-101244008

The council’s downland sits within the South Downs National Park and consists of about 3,000 acres of farmed land as well as 1,000 acres of open access downland.

Back in 2016, the council revealed plans to sell the farmland it owned on the Downs to raise money for other projects in the town.

The council asked Eastbourne residents to choose between cutting services and selling downland, but the town overwhelmingly chose to cut services rather than see 3,000 acres of downland up for sale.

And last year, it was revealed that thousands of trees were being cut down on the town’s downland due to ash dieback.

Details of possible future projects to support the downland are outlined in the plan, including a suggestion to set up a trust or similar organisation to prioritise schemes and take them forward.

The consultation runs until Sunday, April 5, on the council’s website at www.lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk/DownlandWholeEstatePlan.

Staff will also be manning a stall in The Beacon shopping centre on Saturday, February 15, to give information and answer any questions on the plan.

Councillor Dow added, “We value everyone’s views and want to hear from as many people as possible on this important plan. Please do come along and visit our stall to find out more.”