About our rural estate

The council’s rural estate consists of approximately 12,800 acres located within the South Downs National Park.

The council acquired the estate in the late 19th and early 20th Century. The aim was to protect the water supply and control development.

The council has long recognised the great importance of the City Downland Estate. It contributes a great deal to the Downland landscape which surrounds the City.

As early as 2004 we set out our aims for the downland in "The Space to Be". This became the Downland Initiative (2006), later renamed the City Downland Estate Policy. This was the our first formal policy to recognise the importance and role it plays in our city.

The policy has increased the amount of the estate available for access by the public. It’s now time to refresh our policy to ensure it delivers on our Vision for the Downland Estate.

The new City Downland Estate Plan will follow the principles of the SDNP guidance on whole estate plans.

What is a Whole Estate Plan

A Whole Estate Plan (WEP) is a document, prepared by landowning organisations. It sets out their assets along with opportunities and threats the organisation may encounter. It also explains their plans for the future. 

A WEP should include the landowners environmental and social assets. As well as considering:

  • management issues
  • financial 
  • economic challenges 
  • development projects

The idea is to encourage a discussion between land owning organisations and the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNP). 

They will look at all land holdings so they can be as holistic as possible in deciding the best approach to their future management.

The SDNP recognises the 2 main challenges faced by those who own and operate these estates. These are:

  • managing the land
  • maintaining some of the most significant cultural and heritage assets within the South Downs National Park

A Whole Estate Plan will help land owning organisations and the SDNP work together to deal with these challenges.

To prepare our Whole Estate Plan we have assembled a small project team who are responsible for the preparation and delivery of the Plan.

The team includes:

  • relevant council officers
  • Planning for Real (Public Consultation Facilitators and Consultants)
  • City Downland Estate Managing Agents, Savills

The City Downland Estate Plan

Brighton & Hove City Council’s Whole Estate Plan is called the City Downland Estate Plan. 

It is currently intended that the City Downland Estate Plan will be a policy led plan providing a vision and overarching framework to help and support future decision marking across all land and property that falls within the City Downland Estate boundary.

Get involved

A WEP is not an adopted planning document. It does not need a formal public consultation. However, SDNP recommend that there are great opportunities for organisations when they engage with communities who live, work and spend their leisure time within their land holdings.

Over the coming months we will actively engage communities through activities such as:

  • open days,
  • active workshops
  • questionnaires

By doing this, we hope that local communities will be kept informed of the aims and issues faced by landowners.

Local communities will also be able to contribute to the Whole Estate Plan with ideas and information. 

Find more information about Whole Estate Plans and read Whole Estate Plans that have been approved by the SDNP.