Brighton and Hove's CPP2 Submission to Secretary of State: How You Can Help
Updated: Jan 10, 2022
As some of you will know, Brighton and Hove City Council (BHCC) last year opened for public consultation their City Plan Part 2 (CPP2), which forms the bulk of housing developments in the city and what's known as the 'urban fringe' (the land immediately surrounding the city, which includes the Benfield Valley).
If you are uncertain of the impact that the CPP2 will have on the Benfield Valley (BV), please refer to the first blog post, which is the open letter written by founder Helen to the council (and, really, anyone she thought would listen!). This contains references and links to the plans as well as contentious issues relating to the impact on both ecological and human health.
What's happening right now?
Last week anyone who had submitted their arguments for or against the plans received an update from the council containing a number of links and resources explaining what was happening.
The CPP2, along with BHCC's responses to the consultation have been sent to the Secretary of State for their approval/amendment. Thus far, BHCC have NOT removed BV from the plans. It's perhaps worth noting here that Benfield was omitted from the original plans and then added after the current leaseholders appealed to BHCC to have it included. The document sent to the council to this effect is in the public domain.
As these things are often hard to navigate and take time to research and process, we've put together the bullet points below outlining the council's response as well as direct links to documents on the website; we have also specifically outlined pages to refer to with regards to BV.
Following these points are ways you as an individual can help protect the BV from development.
1. CPP2 examination overview
https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/city-plan-part-2-examination-2021 - this document includes contact details of Programme Officer, Pauline Butcher.
2. Regulation 20 Consultation Document
This document gives a broad overview of the responses received by BHCC regarding CPP2
See pgs 9-11 - BV received 27 responses plus petition signatures of 2000+
—————————— 3. Urban Fringe Assessments 2021 (Site Assessments)
This is the document containing BHCC's response to the arguments for/against the development of 100 dwellings on the stated sections of BV.
See pages 26-35 for council’s response to BV contests. Other specific points to note: 3.9, 4.5.
We have a couple of concerns with this document:
Our main concern with their responses is the council's plan to 'mitigate' ecological impact of development which includes off-site mitigation i.e. planting more trees somewhere else. As outlined in Helen's open letter, Benfield is part of the last 1% of grass chalkland in the South Downs and therefore planting trees would not be an equivalent 'mitigation.'
The ecological survey was undertaken in January. In our eyes, you don't need to hold an Ecology degree to know that looking for wildlife in January would not be conducive to an accurate report on the ecological health of a green space - everything is asleep!
What can I do to help?
There are a few things we can still do to show our support for the preservation of BV. Should the Secretary of State approve the developments at BV, there will still be an appeal process, but, for obvious reasons, things get more challenging as we move further along the path.
Here's what you can do to help:
Email Pauline Butcher (as stated in point 1 above) and/or the BHCC Estates team expressing your concern regarding the building of 100 dwellings on BV. You will most likely have your own reasons for opposing the plans and these will be the best arguments rather than us telling you what you write.
Keep sharing the work of the Benfield Valley Project and please do get involved if you can. We are currently setting up community events across the valley and would love to see you at one whenever you can make it.
Email us with a sentence or two about what BV means to you. We will then turn this into a blog post/article about the importance of the valley to local residents and the community as a whole.
Contact the local press if you have contacts. We are making contact with a number of publications on the issue of the development of local green spaces and any publicity for our case, as well as the case of other local areas included on CPP2 such as Toad Hall Valley and Whitehawk Hill, will help.
Record any evidence of wildlife sightings and send it to us. We are currently putting together our own ecological survey and any additions would be wonderful. we are particularly interested in sightings/evidence of adders, badgers, hedgehogs, bats, dormice, all of which we known live in the valley but they are elusive little things!
Finally, if you have any concerns about the space, please refer to our 'useful links' section for who to contact.
You are also always free to reach out to us either via our email address or contact form, or on Facebook if you just want to chat to people who care about and understand the space. Whatever happens, we are here for the long run and will always have nature and community at the heart of what we do.
The BVP Team x