Monday, 5 November 2018

Save Whitehawk Hill Nature Reserve!

Whitehawk Hill is a Down, right in Brighton, an ancient and sacred landscape and high quality landscape which should be in the National Park & have full landscape & species protection.(in fact a full council meeting voted for its inclusion, only to be followed by a small meeting vetoing that 'democratic' vote). It is a statutory Local Nature reserve, a Common, statutory Access land under the CROW Act and an Ancient Neolithic Scheduled Monument. It's pretty special.

Brighton & Hove Council have chosen part of the Nature Reserve for a housing development of 217 1 & 2 bed flats, in 5 blocks, 6 & 8 storey. An "Urban Fringe Assessment" was drawn up in 2014, identifying greenfield sites for housing. One site, Craven Vale Allotments, also on this Nature Reserve, jumped into action and ran a successful campaign and the site was removed. Whitehawk has only just realised the threat which the council tells us is a done deal, that we are too late. 
We are not.

BHCC has gone into partnership with the hawkish landlords Hyde, link to a Corporate Watch article below if you're interested. 

Locals have called Public Meeting:

Monday, 12 November from 19:00-21:00
St Cuthman's community church hall, Whitehawk Way, BN2 5HE, Brighton. 

If you love our City's wild spaces and wildlife, please try to come.

This month the World Wildlife Fund released a report which told us that wild animal populations have decreased globally by 60% in just 48 years - since 1970.

This profoundly endangers the future quality of human life.

This is not a far-away problem. It is on our doorstep.

If we are to halt and reverse this extinction process, the protection of every LOCAL high-value space for wildlife is a categorical imperative.

The need to protect nature is co-equal with the need for high quality, low-cost housing for all.

We must find solutions which protect those two imperatives.


We have heard ourselves called 'NIMBYS' (selfish people who say 'Not In My Back Yard' to developments).

Perhaps the Londoners who successfully campaigned against the destruction of Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath, Tooting Common or Walthamstow Marsh were 'nimbys' ??

Perhaps the pre-war Brighton folk who campaigned against new housing on top of the Devils Dyke and Ditchling Downs were nimbys ?

Perhaps the pre-war Eastbourne folk who campaigned against new towns on Beachy Head, Seven Sisters and Birling Gap were nimbys ??

If the breaking up of the Whitehawk Hill Local Nature Reserve goes ahead then nothing will off-limits...nothing will be sacrosanct.

If Whitehawk Hill is broken, then there is no reason why Castle Hill National Nature Reserve, or the Local Nature Reserves of the Wild Park, Bevendean Down, Stanmer, Benfield Hill, Beacon Hill and Withdean Woods should not be broken, too.

Top pundits (like Anthony Seldon) have already called for this (as with his call for building on the whole Hollingbury Hill inlier).

The breaking of Whitehawk Hill WILL mean the future breaking of other sacrosanct sites...and will further encourage that process nationally.

Brighton's attitude to the protection of its Downs has always been contradictory.

Its pre-war council leader, Herbert Carden, both bought the Devils Dyke to protect it from housing development and campaigned for a major motor racing track between the Dyke and Portslade which would have destroyed all its Downs.

Its erstwhile Labour leader, Steve Bassam, attempted to flog off its hugely important 13,000 acre Downland Estate and opposed the creation of the new South Downs National Park, despite Labour Environment Minister Michael Meacher proposing it. (Steve B later changed his mind on both

Now Brighton's draft City Plan both calls for the protection of its Local Nature Reserves and Local Wildlife Sites and suggests ripping the heart out of the Whitehawk Hill LNR.

Whitehawk Hill is as important to Brighton as the Royal Pavilion


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A Right to Roam comrade had sited our first briefing here -

Dave Bangs' book on the Hill * free PDF* -

Council's blurb on the Hill -

Corporate Watch report on Hyde -

The housing proposal  -

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