Council Wobbles On Destructive Development Plans - Time To Pile On The Pressure
You may have heard in 'the news' that plans to build on Whitehawk Hill Nature Reserve have been 'scrapped'. Whilst we welcome this wonderful suggestion, and all needed some January cheer, it's not yet certain truth!
Statement of intention to drop plans, but no firm decision
Local press reported from a Brighton & Hove Council meeting of the Policy Resources and Growth Committee on 24th Jan where council leader Daniel Yates stated:
“A number of complexities have come up with the Whitehawk Hill urban fringe site, including technical issues that impact on the financial viability of the proposed development. In view of these issues it is my intention to ask the Homes for Brighton & Hove board to consider removing the development of the Whitehawk Hill site from its proposals. Any final decision on this site will come back to a future PRG Committee.”
Pressure needed to make sure this is followed through
So whilst encouraging, the plan to build on the Nature Reserve is not yet "scrapped"! It's more a recommendation from the council leader (who is also chair of the PRG committee) and still needs a further decision by another board. We are hoping that the Homes for Brighton and Hove Board will vote to shelve their plan to build on this site.
We haven't confirmed yet what the 'complexities' he talks of are ... 1822 covenants, community pressure from Whitehawk and all over Brighton, it being a designated Local Nature Reserve, huge number of reptiles who knows?? Whatever they are we have been thankful to have your support and really hope to win this one.
Please help us now by giving them a further push ... See our Take Action page for how you can help put pressure on the council.
Many Other Green Spaces In Brighton Threatened
The Urban Fringe Assessments of 2014 that made this land available for proposed development are deeply flawed. And whilst it is looking good for this site, there are many other important urban wild spaces threatened in Brighton and Hove by the 'Urban Fringe Assessments' too!
We will continue to fight until this development is stopped and the Nature Reserve is safe from any future development and removed from the list of 'urban fringe' sites in City Plan Part 2. Whitehawk Hill is a Local Nature Reserve with multiple designations that must be respected.
Flawed Urban Fringe Assessment Needs Axing
We call on BHCC to examine the reasons for the drastic and expensive mistake which has been made at Whitehawk Hill LNR.
The origin of this failed project was in the sub-standard Urban Fringe Assessment (2014) which demonstrated a lack of local knowledge, showed gross disrespect for the importance of a string of local sites and sub-landscapes, and was done without consultation with local community groups, local experts, or expert organisations with environmental monitoring and oversight roles.
This was compounded by a very worrying lack of awareness amongst most councillors of the important role that many City urban fringe sites have in the conservation of steeply declining ecosystems and wildlife assemblages.
It is, in fact, the case that many of our urban fringe suites retain wildlife assemblages of greater importance than those within the National Park, for a number of reasons, including the baleful effects of productivist agriculture.
For this reason we call upon the Council to review all 'urban fringe' sites targetted for development in the City Plan Part 2.
Social Housing But Nature Needs A Home Too
In tandem with this review we call upon the City Council to undertake a review of all potential development sites within the built-up area, including those urban areas of low density and privileged access to private green space, with a view to maximising their contribution to the provision of social housing at social rents.
Furthermore, we call upon the council to re-consider all projects targeted for student accommodation and all mixed employment and housing projects, with a view to prioritising the provision of social housing at social rents. We consider the core lessons of the failed Whitehawk Hill project are that we need far greater respect for the imperative of conserving the City's wildlife and a new strategy for the imperative of providing social housing at social rents.
Never again must we set the needs of poor communities against the need to conserve nature. They are both equally important. Yes, we need new homes but nature needs a home too.