Stonkingly Good Public Meeting In The Valley
Over 100 residents, mostly from Whitehawk, attended a public meeting about plans to break Whitehawk Hill Local Nature Reserve in two with a 5 high rise blocks, up to 8 stories high
Last night (12th November) Whitehawk residents and our allies held a public meeting at St Cuthman's Church to debate the joint Hyde Housing/Brighton & Hove City Council proposal to break in two the Whitehawk Hill Local Nature Reserve with a high rise housing estate of five new blocks up to 8 stories high. Over 100 attended, mostly from Whitehawk.
Dave Bangs, local naturalist and conservationist gave a presentation. He described the list of attributes of ancient Whitehawk Hill as "reminding him of the row of medals on the chest of a veteran soldier attending the Armistice Day Remembrance".
- The Hill is a 'recreational common' - the Race Ground - set up by deed in 1822.
- Its nationally important Neolithic Causewayed Camp is a Scheduled Ancient Monument designated in 1928.
- It was made a statutory Local Nature Reserve in 1997.
- The full Council voted for it to be in the National Park in 2002.
- It was made statutory Access Land in 2003.
He highlighted the terrible neglect in which the Hill is left, despite it "having multiple public values which make it the equal of the Royal Pavilion"
"This meeting demands that Brighton and Hove Council rejects the proposal to build on the Whitehawk Hill Local Nature Reserve and seeks alternative sites within the City"
Unanimous Resolution Of Meeting
He compared the deep indifference with which the Hill and its neighbouring residents are treated to the way better off communities and more prestigious public spaces, like Stanmer Park and The Level are treated. "Whitehawk people should not be forced to choose between their green spaces and their homes. They deserve both. We must find housing solutions which do not demand that poor communities pay the costs, and which ask better-off communities to fairly contribute".
The majority of the meeting was taken up by contributions from the floor. Many people spoke with delight at the Badgers, the Foxes, the Whitethroats, and the Bats that have long bred and lived on the Hill, and we were told of the finding of a young Adder by the Hill path (all this on the proposed housing site) this spring.
Residents spoke strongly of their support for new social housing, but spoke of the overcrowding from which Whitehawk Hill already suffers and the long list of new developments the Valley has already had to accommodate. The Whitehawk Valley is a bottleneck and traffic only has one way in and one way out. Services are already been lost and cut, and schools and GP surgeries over-subscribed, whilst parking problems will get worse.
Several folk spoke of the lack of environmental surveys done and the poor quality of the information on the environment used to justify the scheme. Others spoke of the high quality information being offered by the community, which does not form any part of the information used by the Council.