LETTER: Selling off the family silver

So Eastbourne Borough Council is to sell off Chalk Farm, Bullock Down Farm, Cornish Farm and Black Robin Farm. To keep itself in the black, it is going to chalk up a short-term financial fix by, frankly, “robbin’” the people.

When what was then Eastbourne Corporation bought Eastbourne Downland in the 1920s, the Mayor had to address a parliamentary committee. He told it that the aim was to keep the land for the unrestricted use of the people of Eastbourne in perpetuity.

A week may be a long time in politics, but “perpetuity” that lasts for less than a hundred years? What “bullocks” are the trying to farm out to us? The current tenants are to be offered first preference, but since the sell-off is expected to raise “millions”, will they be rich enough to buy their farms?

Apparently, the Lib-Dem leaders of the council have been taking lessons in selling off the family silver from their former coalition partners in government. The Eastbourne Corporation Act may have been repealed, but that didn’t return the land to its previous owner; whoever that was.

It seems that National Park legislation is now the only thing protecting Eastbourne’s main green space from destruction, but how safe does that really make it? The Government recently allowed fracking under the South Downs National Park and, a few years ago, David Cameron was talking about selling off national parks – until his own electorate turned on him and forced him to back down.

Let us hope that Eastbourne Downland does not end up in the hands of the companies licensed to frack under it.

Martin Hillman

and David Ellis

Hawks Road, Hailsham

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