It comes as a surprise to many residents that BHCC owns an extensive area of land beyond the city’s urban fringe. This Downland estate extends in a wide arc from Southwick in the West to Saltdean in the East. This land was bought up by previous councils in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to protect our city’s aquifer, contain development and allow the people of Brighton and Hove the rights to roam freely over the land as they would have done for countless millennia.
In the time since, the intensification of agriculture has left the city’s aquifer over exploited and polluted, the Brighton Down’s once rich and biodiverse nature degraded and the people of Brighton and Hove largely excluded from the land that they own and once cherished.
The council is in the process of creating a whole estate plan for this Downland estate and as part of this process has been consulting residents and other stakeholders on how the land should be used and managed over the next century. This represents a once in a generation opportunity to bring about real change, acting on the biodiversity, climate and social emergencies our community faces holistically, and restoring the Brighton Downs to the nature rich, free and open landscape our ancestors once knew.
The Brighton Downs Alliance is a group of local residents, experts and 30+ organisations, including Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, CPRE Sussex, BHWF and Sussex Wildlife Trust, which have been campaigning for a sustainable future for our Downs, which reconnects residents with food produced on their doorstep and brings nature and the Downland landscape back into all of our lives.
A draft City Downland Estate Plan has now been produced, based upon inputs from an initial round of consultation in 2020/2021. This draft will be consulted upon in May/June 2022, with another round of public engagement events and opportunities to comment. BHWF will be sharing information in the coming months about how you can get involved….