Monday, 9 November 2009

Stop Cissbury Sell Off

Stop Cissbury Sell Off
Our website has a map of the for-sale Downland:

against the proposed selling of Worthing Council-owned Downland around Cissbury Ring

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 14th, 11.00am
Speakers include: Kate Ashbrook, redoubtable Director of the Open Spaces Society, & Marion Shoard, countryside author & national campaigner.
Press and TV will be there, so we need maximum turn-out to demonstrate our opposition to the loss of this public landscape.
We will walk up onto the for-sale land and hold a short meeting.
Bring the family and all your friends, and anything to make a show – banners, placards, balloons…..

For those who have time we will then take a walk across Mount Carvey, Cissbury Ring and back down Tenants Hill to view the for-sale Downland and talk through how we wish to see it improved under Worthing’s ownership.
The walk will be around 4.5 miles, but folk who do not wish to walk the whole way can easily return at several points.
The walk will cross a Council-owned field that has a statutory right of public access but has been closed to the public, contrary to the law, for the last 4 years.
Contact: Chris Hare, Tel. 01903 200 648,; Barry Winter, Tel: 01903 263 038,; Dave Bangs, Tel. 01273 620 815,

From: David Bangs, 78 Ewhurst Road, Brighton, BN2 4AJ, Tel: 01273 620 815
02 / 11 / 2009

Stop Worthing selling off its Downs !!
Worthing Council must stop the sale of its Cissbury Downland forthwith. The decision to sell was made without public consultation, or, indeed, public knowledge.

Worthing folk will not to take kindly to the loss of their present informal right to roam over the fields and little woods which Worthing has just put up for sale.

This is a potentially disastrous repeat of the mistake which was made 15 years ago by Brighton Council, when it covertly decided to flog off its Downland. Thankfully, a sharp local campaign reversed that decision, and Brighton is at last making real public improvements to its Downland.
Worthing Council Leader Paul Yallop is plain wrong to imply that the Council has a ‘duty to the taxpayer’ to sell its landholding around Cissbury Ring.

To the contrary, they have a public duty to enhance this landscape as one of the core green spaces available to their residents, in a town which is relatively poorly endowed with urban green space.

The Cissbury Ring landscape is, to Worthing, what council-owned Beachy Head is to Eastbourne, and what Stanmer Park is to Brighton. It is Worthing’s own ‘green lung’.

The solution is ready and waiting for Worthing to take up. There is ample money available for future Downland management via ‘Higher Level Stewardship’ funding, which is now available to local councils as well as private farmers and landowners. Furthermore, there are other targetted funding sources to tackle a project of Downland enhancement.

If Worthing Council does not feel it any longer has the in-house expertise to plan such a project they need not worry. There will be ample expertise available from the forthcoming National Park Authority (underway in less than a year) and, in the meantime, staff of the South Downs Joint Committee, of which Cllr Yallop is a new member, are available for support. Furthermore, the National Trust, who own Cissbury Ring itself, have a direct interest in partnership working with the Council to undertake enhancement of this landscape.

There is a real doubt over whether much of the special old Down pasture wildlife of Cissbury Ring can survive in the long term unless its ancient chalk grassland can be restored in this wider landscape. The Ring is, at present, just a ‘precious fragment’ surrounded by a sea of farmland which has been stripped of its ancient flowery pastures. This Downscape urgently needs a project of enhancement on behalf of local people.

Come on Worthing, no unnecessary fights, please ! Don’t sell this Downland. Improve it, instead !!

Dave Bangs

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