Friday, July 06, 2007

WRITE NOW - Protect the Weald from Development


The government's inspector has recommended that Milland, Rogate and Linch be removed from the national park because our landscape is not beautiful / valuable enough to warrant national park status. This poses a major threat to the high level of environmental protection we currently enjoy.

If you care about our environment please write to Mr Benn, the Secretary of State for the Environment at the address below by 24th September (Defra have extended the deadline from 13th August in response to our protests) to argue that the Secretary of State should stick with the original boundaries proposed for the South Downs National Park or that he should create a separate Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) for the Weald at the time he creates the park (The current one will be abolished when the park is formed).

If we are not an AONB and the Park is formed with Milland, Rogate and Linch outside the boundaries (as is now proposed), we will almost certainly come under significant pressure for residential development and quarrying for sand. We have been an AONB for nearly 40 years - this has protected us from almost all damaging development - if we lose this status as a result of the park being formed we are at risk of suburbanisation.

We need the minister to either include us in the park or guarantee that we will have a new AONB created for the West Sussex Weald (our Parishes and those to the East of us) at the same time as the park is created.

I'm sure you'll have better points than me to make to Mr Benn at Defra but if you are short of some, here are a few I've thought of in the brief time I've had since returning from holiday:

  1. Rother Valley is a beautiful whole - to make the southern part National Park and the Northern part not does not seem compelling from the perspective of integrated conservation of the valley as a whole
  2. Milland Valley is beautiful and sparsely populated - ideal territory to be within the National Park.
  3. Public enquiry was run on the basis of the original proposed boundaries - to change it at the last minute with a consultation period of half the length the Cabinet Office recommends other government departments observe is curious to say the least.
  4. Why is A272 such a popular touring route if not because of the outstanding beauty on both sides of it ?
  5. There is much valuable flora and fauna (please specify what if you can) in Rogate, Milland and Linch.
  6. The changes made to the National Parks Act 1949 by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (in the wake of the wake of the Meyrick Estate Management & Others v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs court case in Nov 2005) make it more rather than less proper for the woodland, arable land and pasture we have to be regarded as an asset in the National Park.
  7. If we are not to be in the national park, we have been designated an AONB on solid grounds (suggest minister comes and sees for himself) and request we not be deprived of this status.

If it's helpful, my own letter may be found at

You'll need to click on this link to obtain the response form and then send it by e-mail, post or fax to one of the addresses below. You need to write about item 3 - the possible alternative boundary from North of Petersfield East across to Pullborough (there are four options on the form)

"Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Sponsorship, Landscape and Recreation (National Parks), Zone 1/03 Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6EB

By fax to: 0117 372 8250

By e-mail to:"



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