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National park society gives cautious welcome to new park plan

The text of the Society’s submitted comments on the “South Downs Local Plan: Preferred Options” is already on our website, but for information, here is the text of our press release issued today:


The South Downs Society, the Friends group for the national park, has submitted a 5,000 word set of comments on the draft plan for the national park drawn up by the South Downs National Park Authority in a consultation which ran until the end of October.

The Society has participated regularly during the preparation of the plan and has not found too many major surprises amongst the 59 draft policies and sites proposed for development.

Said Robert Cheesman, chairman of the Society, “We welcome the way the plan places its emphasis on the national park purposes of conservation and enjoyment taking precedence over development – while recognising the need for appropriate levels of new “affordable” housing on brownfield sites, suitably located and designed.  We have added our own commentary and suggestions for new and amended policies which would help to protect the park’s special qualities.”

The Society has challenged some of the housing target figures in the plan and has repeated its strong objections to the use of farmland at Old Malling Farm on the outskirts of Lewes for a new housing estate.

The plan will, once it has gone through its various stages of consultation and examination, become a key document in conserving and enhancing the landscape and townscapes of the park and guiding development. It is anticipated that the plan will be formally adopted around June 2017.


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