Group fights council's plans to sell off Downland

A group has been set up on Facebook to try and stop Eastbourne council selling off parts of the Downland.

Thursday, 10th November 2016, 11:28 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 5:01 pm
Black Robin Farm, Beachy Head, Eastbourne SUS-160217-141108001

The council announced earlier this year it wanted to sell off the Downland farms in a bid to raise cash to pay for other projects within the town.

Although negotiations are still at an early stage, a group has now been set up on social media called Keep Our Downs Public which is opposing both Brighton council’s plan to sell parts of the Downland in the National Park and Eastbourne Council’s plans to sell the Downland farms including Black Robin farm

A spokesperson for the group said several areas of countryside owned by the public had already been sold off by authorities without any kind of consultation process.

“This is the thin end of the wedge with this government clearly pushing to sell off public assets,” said a group spokesperson.

Last night (Tuesday) the Eastbourne and district Friends of the Earth group held a meeting on the subject of Eastbourne council attempting to sell off the farms.

A spokesperson for the group said the meeting was packed and added, “Clearly there’s huge dismay and concern among local people about the intended sell-off of publicly-owned downland on the South Downs by Eastbourne Borough Council.

“The new Facebook group is about opposing the selling-off of our precious South Downs.

“It’s public land, our land, and we should be asked whether we want that land sold in the first place.”

A spokesperson at Eastbourne Borough Council said, “Any change in ownership of the farmland within the South Downs National Park will not result in any change in their use.

“The farms will remain farms and the network of footpaths and bridleways will continue to provide visitors with public access across the downland. Any suggestions to the contrary are misleading.”