22/02/08: Loss of Downland Ranger a retrograde step for town

I was concerned to read in the Eastbourne Herald recently of the proposal to make a number of posts within the borough council redundant, including that, I understand, of the Downland Ranger.

This is a valuable post within our community as it carries responsibility for the maintenance of the Eastbourne downland.

The argument that this post is no longer needed because of the creation of the proposed South Downs National Park is a vacuous one as the SDNP has not yet been created.

The Eastbourne Downs are important ecologically, agriculturally and archaeologically as well as having an essential place and role within the community, locally, regionally and nationally.

Eastbourne Borough Council's five year Downland Management Plan, published in the spring of last year, is quite detailed and extensive and I cannot see how these plans can be carried out in the absence of the Downland Ranger.

In addition, the Ranger plays an essential role in the education of residents and the general public with the wide range of guides, walks and talks.

Indeed, as the borough council's website states, the Ranger "is an expert on the geology and natural history of the area and each walk takes in a wealth of history, flora, fauna and geology".

The removal of this post will deny residents and visitors the opportunities to learn about and to appreciate the environment which this town enjoys.

The loss of the post of the Downland Ranger would be a retrograde step for Eastbourne; I am not sure that Eastbourne people appreciate the impact that this budget 'cut' will have on our beautiful downland.

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