LETTER: It's a betrayal of my trust
The following letter has been sent to Cllr David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council.
I walk on the Eastbourne downland all year round and the views, along the coastline out to sea and inland across open fields dotted with grazing livestock, never cease to take my breath away.
Judging by the numbers of local residents and people from outside the borough and overseas visiting our downland many others feel the same way. For myself and all those who wish to continue to enjoy this beautiful landscape I strongly urge you to reconsider the sale of the downland farms and find a way to continue the excellent stewardship provided by Eastbourne Borough Council, the tenant farmers and other organisations committed to preserving the biodiversity and archaeology for Eastbourne residents and visitors alike, as promised when the downland was bought by Act of Parliament in the 1920s to preserve it for the public in perpetuity.
You, as Leader of the Council, have betrayed my trust by attempting to take this unprecedented step under a veil of secrecy and have insulted both myself and the ratepayers of Eastbourne by suggesting that this issue is too complicated to be put before the public.
A legal review of the proposal has been prepared. A petition has been signed by thousands of people and letters have been sent to councillors demanding a public consultation before a decision on the sale is made.
A list of carefully selected questions and answers does not equate to a public consultation, Cllr Tutt. If the council does not decide, on March 22, to postpone the sale until a proper public consultation has taken place I hope that many other Eastbourne residents will join me in showing their displeasure and distress at the way councillors have behaved in this instance by the way they use their vote at the next local election.