South Downs National Park endorses Eastbourne environment plan

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) has given a ringing endorsement to Eastbourne Borough Council’s Whole Estate Plan (WEP).
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The plan, which sets out 25 years of environmental management, focuses on the conservation of the downland to make sure it has a sustainable future.

This includes supporting the council’s tenant farmers.

The plan has taken two years to complete and is the result of a very close working relationship with the SDNPA and consultation with numerous stakeholders - including downland interest groups and local residents.

Seven Sisters country park SUS-190328-164302003Seven Sisters country park SUS-190328-164302003
Seven Sisters country park SUS-190328-164302003
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Councillor Jonathan Dow, cabinet member for climate change, said, “I would like to congratulate and thank our officers for their expertise and great diligence in completing this incredibly important piece of work.

“It is an enormous achievement and worth noting that we are the first local authority to receive the endorsement.

“Let’s be perfectly clear, our downland is the beating heart of Eastbourne and so our role as custodians of it brings great responsibility. I am also now certain that within the rich history and tapestry of the downland, the passage of this plan will be judged most favourably.”

Major projects within the plan include enhancing the part played by the Beachy Head countryside centre when it comes to signposting activities, promoting the downland, and supporting education and volunteering activities.

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As well as this, subject to a future business case, the currently redundant buildings on Black Robin Farm, situated on Beachy Head road, will become a place for people to learn about and engage with the Eastbourne downland through workshops and courses.

Existing cottages on site will be used as holiday accommodation - aiming to be ready in time for Christmas.

Andrew Lee, countryside and policy manager for the SDNPA, said, “We were delighted to endorse this whole estate plan. The Eastbourne downland forms the gateway into the National Park from its eastern end, and is a hugely important place for nature and for people.

“It is great to see such a clear and positive vision for its future, and we look forward to working with the council on improving its habitats, access and facilities as part of the heritage coast.”

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The council’s downland sits within the South Downs national park and consists of 3,000 acres of farmland as well as 1,000 acres of open access downland. The downland in Eastbourne welcomes over one million visitors each year.

Eastbourne’s WEP is designed to be a ‘live’ document that will be responsive to changes in national policy and council priorities over the next 25 years.

Anyone wanting to keep up with the plan can find it on the council website

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