Whitehawk campaigners complain over ‘lack of publicity’ for housing exhibition

Campaigners fighting proposals for flats on Whitehawk Nature Reserve are concerned about the level of publicity about the plans.

Monday, 21st January 2019, 9:54 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:08 pm
Save Whitehawk Hill campaigners

According to activists asking questions at the Brighton and Hove City Council’s housing and new homes committee on Wednesday (January 16), many householders did not receive information about the public exhibition.

Outline plans for 217 homes on the site went on display at the Valley Social Centre in Whitehawk Way in October.

Whitehawk Nature Reserve

The proposed development of affordable homes for rent and shared ownership is a joint venture by Brighton and Hove City Council and Hyde Housing, known as Homes for Brighton and Hove.

Whitehawk resident Maria Garrett-Gotch asked for details on the nature of public consultations as she said that she had received no information.

She said: “How public and publicised it was it? As a local resident I never receive an invitation to it and neither do I know any local residents or people in the area who received an email, anything public and flyer about it.

“Who exactly was it from the local community that was invited because no one was?”

The council’s executive director for neighbourhoods, communities and housing Larissa Reed said that a PR company leafleted across Whitehawk and described the consultation events as “well attended” by members of the public.

She said that posters were also put up in the Whitehawk Centre and the events on Wednesday October 10 and Thursday October 11 at the Valley Social Centre were promoted online.

Fellow campaigner David Bangs asked about the promotion of future consultations.

He asked when it will start, and the names of organisations and type of individuals who will be consulted.

Labour councillor Anne Meadows, who chairs the housing committee, said that the Homes for Brighton and Hove board was still reviewing the results of the first consultation before any future details were agreed.

She said that consultation would include people from the area as well as various organisations.

Mr Bangs said: “The thing about Whitehawk Hill is it has local significance, regional significance and national significance.

“The potential trawl of any kind of real consultation should involve all those levels.

“I’m particularly interested with the consultation at county, regional and national level.”

Councillor Meadows said that national and county organisations were included in consultations.

Whitehawk Hill is the site of a neolithic camp and ancient ritual burials thought to be at least 5,000 years old.

Other issues raised included concerns about protective covenants on the land by Albourne Close and Haybourne Road and the environmental impact on the wildlife in the area.

In response to Amanda Bishop’s question on covenants, Councillor Meadows said that the council had commissioned an external legal review of the enclosure deed and that covenants should not affect development of the site.

Judith Watson asked about the future environmental impact.

She said: “People of East Brighton have an enormous amount of knowledge about the ecology of Whitehawk Hill.

“What practical steps are being taken to involve the community in environmental impact assessment.”

Councillor Meadows said that the Homes for Brighton and Hove board has asked for a review of the feedback from the public consultation before any environmental assessments are undertaken.

The board will consider how it will proceed once this work is complete when meets again in March.