Here’s a message from our Co-ordinator, Andrew Durling:
So the struggle to save Eastbourne’s downland from being flogged off by Eastbourne Borough Council is over. A famous victory for people power has been won. Our rare and fragile downland, rich in wildlife and natural beauty, and much loved by people around the world, remains in the care of the town of Eastbourne just as it has been since 1929. But is that the end of the matter?
Certainly we have had firm assurances from Eastbourne Borough Council that the sale is definitely off, period. But now the race is on to assess what that means for the downland’s future. Lots of questions now open up, such as:
- What should the management strategy be now for the downland?
- How can the council best be helped to maximise the potential public benefit from the downland?
- Where can increased resources be found for maintaining and improving the downland estate?
- How can the huge public support for the campaign to save the downland be translated into an ongoing public engagement with the care and maintenance of the downland landscape?
We in Eastbourne and District Friends of the Earth, together with our allies in the Keep Our Downs Public campaign, are already engaging with the council to start a dialogue about where we all go from here to secure a flourishing future for the downland estate and make it a shining example of landscape conservation for the rest of the South Downs National Park.
What is for certain is that we can’t rest on our laurels. We have to go on and secure the victory won with such great effort. The South Downs has given us all so much of value, so it is the responsibility of us all to look after it, not just for ourselves but for future generations, especially as nature and wildlife generally is under so much threat from pollution, development pressures, and climate change.
Eastbourne prides itself on being a Gateway to the South Downs. Now it needs to also be a Guardian of the South Downs in conjunction with the South Downs National Park Authority and with the support of central government. After all, our local downland is a national and international treasure!
Thank you for all your support for the campaign to save our Downs. You are heroes all!