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'Save the Benfield Valley!' Toolkit

Help Save the Benfield Valley from Development

What is happening?

The City Plan Part 2 is the document which outlines Brighton and Hove Council’s plans for housing developments in and around the city. The plan includes proposals to develop key green spaces such as Whitehawk Hill and the Benfield Valley.

What is proposed at Benfield Valley?

The council wants to use the woodland sections in the centre of the valley (to the north and south of the Hangleton Lane) to develop 100 dwellings.

Why should I care?

  • These plans would see hundreds of trees felled. These trees hold an estimated (based on a tree survey of the southside woodland) 100 tonnes of carbon, serving to off-set the effects of the busy surrounding roads meaning that the local area maintains a good air quality

  • The area must remain in-tact in order to safeguard the area’s biodiversity and continue to serve as a green corridor for plant and wildlife alike; the valley is home to an abundance of wildlife including Chalkhill Blue (on Amber list for conservation importance), Red Wings, White throats and Song Thrushes (all Red list for conservation), and Dunnocks (Amber list).

  • The Benfield Valley is loved by the local community and provides a much-needed area of respite that contributes to mental and physical health; local residents have often commented how they got to know the valley during lockdown and have grown to love it as a rare ‘wild space’ in our sprawling city

  • Only 8% of land in the UK is publicly-accessible (ref: the Countryside & Rights of Way (CRoW), 2000); many of this is ‘managed’ or remote, meaning that, for many of us, they are totally inaccessible; the Benfield Valley is entirely unique in both its proximity to the city and in its size as an almost-uninterrupted green wedge leading to the South Downs National Park. As the government begins to move towards deregulation through its proposals to scrap the Environment Land Management scheme, such spaces will become increasingly rare. We need to keep the Benfield Valley not just for future generations to enjoy but for the health of our environment.

  • In 2021, the Biodiversity Intactness Index named the UK as one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, coming in the bottom 10% globally for biodiversity, preserving a space like the Benfield Valley plays an important role in the recovery of nature in the UK

  • We can question whether the houses are still required given that the Toad’s Hole area is seeking planning permission for 200 extra houses

But don't we need more housing?

Yes, we do.

EVERYONE deserves to live in a safe home and should be able to buy an affordable home but we do NOT believe that we should be sacrificing our much-needed local green spaces to provide these, especially spaces like the Benfield Valley, one of the last green lungs in Brighton & Hove.

We believe that the council have not been create enough in looking at how we can use our existing brownfield sites to meet housing targets set by the government. We can provide affordable housing AND protect our wild spaces; the two do things can co-exist.

What can I do to help?

Whatever you choose to do, please do something. Now is the time to make a stand for our local green space and protect the Benfield Valley that we love!

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