Hotel plan for Eastbourne golf club and charges for people visiting Beachy Head
An Eastbourne golf club could be converted to provide hotel accommodation and access charges for non-locals visiting Beachy Head may be introduced, under a blueprint for the Eastbourne downland estate.
A draft 57 page plan – now out to public consultation - also looks at building a value added brand for produce from the estate, a higher profile visitor centre and disused farm outbuildings hosting local artisans, craftspeople, business start-ups and even a museum.
Eastbourne council’s main decision making cabinet committee has already approved the draft 25-year environmental plan for Eastbourne’s iconic downland and now members of the public are being asked for their views over the next eight weeks.
The council says it has been working closely with the South Downs National Park Authority on the development of the plan over the last 18 months and it ‘focuses on conservation and preservation of the downland for future generations’.
The council’s cabinet member Jonathan Dow 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. We value everyone’s views and want to hear from as many people as possible on this important plan.”
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.
But Eastbourne residents objected to the idea and the town overwhelmingly chose to cut services rather than see 3,000 acres of downland up for sale.
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 from Sunday, February 9, 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.