5 February 2015

Protecting more downland for future generations

Almost 500 acres of downland on the edge of Brighton & Hove will be safeguarded for public use forever, under a proposal being considered by city councillors on  February 12.

A total of 489 acres of council-owned land at Home Farm, Stanmer and St Mary’s Farm, Stanmer, were designated as open access land in 2005.

Now Brighton & Hove City Council’s Policy and Resources Committee is being recommended to take this a stage further, by dedicating the land under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 which will ensure public access is retained in perpetuity.

The proposal follows the opening up of other council-owned farmland for public access to allow residents and visitors to make the most of the countryside around the city.

275 acres of land at Patcham Court Farm were dedicated as public access land under the CRoW Act, following a decision in 2012, and 37 acres at Ditchling Road are in the process of being formally dedicated as public access land.

Council leader Jason Kitcat, who is chair of the Policy and Resources Committee, said: “We want people to enjoy council-owned downland around the city, and this proposal will ensure almost 500 acres are protected for future generations.

“The land lies within the UNESCO Brighton & Lewes Downs Biosphere which is all about bringing nature and people together to enjoy the stunning natural environment on our doorstep.”

Note to editors: Under the CRoW Act, the public can walk freely without having to stick to paths and can enjoy activities carried out on foot, including walking, sightseeing, bird watching, climbing and running, however there are some common sense restrictions in place which limit where people can walk or take a dog. Existing rights such as riding a horse on a public bridleway are not affected.

Link to committee papers for report and map - agenda item 143:

UNESCO Brighton & Lewes Downs World Biosphere Area