Thousands sign Sussex grandfather's petition to ban agricultural land development

More than 11,000 people have signed a Sussex man’s petition to ban building on agricultural land.

Littlehampton grandfather-of-six Clive Fennell said prime agricultural land ‘cannot be replaced’, so ‘everyone in every corner of the country’ needs to help to ‘save our countryside and food production’.

He added: “I fear for my grandchildren’s future.

"People are blindly going into it and they are destroying the earth.

Clive Fennell with his wife Sue, launched a petition against development on agriculture land. Photo: Steve Robards SR2204112

“It is about the younger generation. It’s just devastating and it’s their futures.

“We might be alright but where are they going to be? It’s crucial. When farmland is gone, it’s gone forever.”

Clive set up a Government petition in March. Within three months, he has gained the signatures of 11,436 people (as of Friday, June 24).

"I'm pleased with the way it's going,” Clive said. “Especially in this area — there’s been outstanding support in Sussex and going into Kent.

"It is doing really well but, in some respects, I just wish people in other areas would grab hold of it.

"There are hundreds of groups all over the country fighting for the same course.

"It's all individual, there's no coalition.

"It's not a local issue. It's a problem for the whole country.

"We need everybody to work together.”

Clive fears that the ‘perfect’, grade one farmland in Sussex ‘is being destroyed’.

He said: “Once that's destroyed, it's gone forever.

"It needs to be looked at.

"I think it needs to get debated in Parliament. I'm getting 100 signatures a day and the petition runs out in the middle of September.

"Unless it is supported, it is just going to die.”

Clive is calling for the the Government to ‘immediately ban’ development of green land ‘that has been or is used for farming’.

He added: “In many places like Sussex high quality farmland is being built on to meet government targets.

"These areas are often cheap to build on, but mean that quality agricultural land is being lost.

“We should only build on areas that is not or has not previously been used for farming.

"Russia and Ukraine currently produce over a quarter of the world's wheat, as well as many other crops.

"Future imports can no longer be guaranteed due to the conflict.

"In the future this could cause food shortages and increases in prices of staple foods from bread to vegetable oils, which would have a major effect on people’s lives.

"Taking action now will help give the UK independence and food security. Preserve our fields for survival.”

Clive said he is waiting to receive a response form a Government minister, now that the petition has reached more than 10,000 signatures.

His overall target is 100,000 signatures, as the petition will then considered for debate in Parliament

To add your signature, please visit: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/611113