How it all began
Our access to high quality green spaces has never been lower (8% of land is open to the public; 92% is 'privately-owned') so protecting what we do have is crucial. The Benfield Valley Project was set up with three aims in mind: community, ecology and sustainability.
As a green belt of land stretching from the Old Shoreham Road to the South Downs, we are so lucky to have easy access to this space.
In June 2020, founder Helen, heard about Brighton and Hove City Council's plans to include Benfield Valley in the City Plan Part 2 (CPP2) in order to develop 100 dwellings on space either side of Hangleton Lane. As a parent of two children and a frequent user of this incredibly biodiverse space, she knew she had to do something to contest these plans. While she realised that, yes, we need affordable housing, the importance of green spaces on our mental and physical health could not be underestimated. As a result, Helen wrote an open letter to the council, the planning committee, local media and, really anyone who would listen, detailing the importance of the space along with numerous references to studies on the link between biodiversity and human health. She then set up a Facebook page, now managed by the wonderful Kayla, our Ecologist, to celebrate and showcase the beauty, ecology and wild residents of the space and the ways in which we as a community engage with it. This page has grown to a following of nearly 600 local residents and rising.
In March 2021, we became a formal Constituted Community Group and are now a committee of nine. We have plans to hold litter picks and community events in the space supporting local families, groups and businesses.
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