Stop the sell-off of Eastbourne's public downland!

Councillor David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council

Please sign our petition to Eastbourne Borough Council

Eastbourne Borough Council has decided to sell four farms in the South Downs National Park without most residents being aware. Eastbourne Friends of the Earth is concerned that once this publicly owned land is sold, the way it is managed could damage this unique landscape and habitat.

We have joined the Keep Our Downs Public campaign and want to make the council aware that this sale is hugely unpopular and could be detrimental to the much loved downland that residents wish to see kept in public ownership.

Please sign the petition on the right of this page and tick the box so we can keep you informed of further developments and request further help on this issue (this will be just occassionally).


The Eastbourne Downland Estate of 4,200 acres is a landscape of local, national, and international importance because of the rarity of its wildlife habitats and the beauty of its countryside.

Indeed, the estate is a crucial part of Eastbourne's tourism industry, which is itself a key part of Eastbourne's economy and a major source of income for Eastbourne Borough Council. Most of the estate is expertly managed by its tenant farmers, who have a key role in implementing the Eastbourne Downland Management Strategy created by Eastbourne Borough Council decades ago. This strategy has enabled landscape restoration, as well as the protection and enhancement of the estate's wildlife, to progress successfully over the last few decades. The sale of all four farms on the estate would mean the end of a coherent, democratically accountable, long-term positive vision for the development of the downland estate for the benefit of the public and nature in general.

Once the council have sold the freeholds we believe there is no way they can guarantee how the land is managed.

Both the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and the South Downs Society have publicly expressed their opposition to the sale of the downland farms:

Help us ensure the council do not sell off our family silver.

You can also keep up to date on this by following Eastbourne Friends of the Earth on Facebook and on Twitter.

To: Councillor David Tutt, Leader of Eastbourne Borough Council
From: [Your Name]

We urge you to immediately stop the current proceedings for the sale of the four farms on the Eastbourne Downland Estate. If these farms fall out of public ownership, then the good work of the tenant farmers acting in co-operation with the council to protect and enhance the wildlife and character of the downland landscape around Eastbourne will be undone. We feel that the only reliable guarantee of good stewardship of the entire downland estate is to keep the farms in public ownership, as was intended when Eastbourne Corporation originally bought the land in the late 1920s in order "to ensure that the character of the land is preserved" and to "secure the public the free and open use of the downland in perpetuity".