Campaigners, hoping to stop the sale of farms on Eastbourne downland, are asking if recent funding to the town could save the land.
The Keep Our Downs Public group is welcoming the news that Devonshire Park has been granted £5million saying that Eastbourne Borough Council’s efforts to secure funding for this commercial leisure facility shows that alternative sources of funding for regeneration projects can be found.
The authority has previously said the sale of the farms would help to fund capital projects such as Devonshire Park and the Sovereign Centre.
The Keep Our Downs Public campaign has organised meetings and protests against the council’s proposals to sell off 3,000 acres of farmed downland. The campaign is supported by the Eastbourne Society, East Sussex Ramblers, Friends of the Earth, The South Downs Society, Sussex CPRE, Sussex Wildlife Trust, and others, including Spring Watch presenter, Chris Packham.
Sally Boys, who lives in Meads said, “We urge the council to renew its efforts to seek alternative funding so that our precious Eastbourne downland is retained in public ownership. With several grant sources and cheap public borrowing with interest rates so low, the council has a number of ways to fund the revamp. It can also raise income from entry fees to Devonshire Park.
“Why should they subsidise commercial development by selling off our downs?”
Phil Belden of the Sussex Wildlife Trust said, “The Eastbourne downland is a priceless public asset, rich in wildlife and cultural heritage, and provides many benefits, such as tourism, iconic views, fresh air, clean water, health and well-being. If sold on the open market all this is at great risk of being damaged, lost and destroyed.”