Council to protect walkers’ rights on downland

From The Argus

Land at Home Farm.jpg-pwrt2

Brighton and Hove City Council has revealed plans for almost 500 acres of downland on the edge of the city to be safeguarded for public use forever under a proposal that will be considered by city councillors on Thursday.

A total of 489 acres of council-owned land, the equivalent of almost 280 football pitches, at Home Farm, Stanmer, and St Mary’s Farm, Stanmer, were designated as open access land in 2005.

Now Brighton & Hove City Council’s policy and resources committee is being recommended to extend these privileges further by dedicating the land under the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 which will ensure public access is retained in perpetuity.

The proposal follows the opening up of other council-owned farmland for public access with 275 acres of land at Patcham Court Farm dedicated as public access land in 2012 and 37 acres at Ditchling Road currently in the process of being formally dedicated.

Council leader Jason Kitcat, chairman of the policy and resources committee, said: “We want people to enjoy council-owned downland around the city, and this proposal will ensure almost 500 acres are protected for future generations.

“The land lies within the UNESCO Brighton and Lewes Downs Biosphere which is all about bringing nature and people together to enjoy the stunning natural environment on our doorstep.”