The Benfield Valley Needs You!
Property developers, Hollybrook Homes, the new leaseholders of Benfield Valley, have started their initial consultation into building houses on Benfield Valley. If you haven’t received a leaflet through the door, here are the details:
29th/30th November 4-8pm. Two drop-in sessions at Hangleton Manor Pub. Display boards and Q&A with the developers.
***We know that everyone is busy but even if you only have ten minutes to spare, please, please attend one of these sessions. We would love to show the developers just how important the valley is to us as a community.***
Over the past three years, hundreds of you have attended our on-site and town hall protests, our community nature days and our community events such as site clearance mornings and litter picks. On top of this, our petition to save the valley now has over 5,000 signatures. We know that the valley is an integral part of the local area - not just for human mental health and wellbeing but for the wildlife that it supports - and we can still prevent this, but it needs all of us to use our voice.
Once the consultation is complete, the developers will then submit their final plans to the council, which will give us another opportunity to contest the proposals and provide evidence for why the Benfield Valley is an unsuitable site for housing.
We also encourage you to email your local councillor to express your support for the ongoing protection of the valley, asking them instead to look at the issue of second homes and airbnbs in the city(1 in 30 houses in the city are currently empty): https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-councillors
See below for a few questions and talking points if you are in need of inspiration.
Thank you, as always, for your unwavering support for the Benfield Valley.
The Benfield Valley Project Team x
Possible questions and points for discussion:
You mention in your flyer that you are working with environmentalists. Who are they? What other bodies have you consulted with that are not being paid by you? E.g. Sussex Wildlife Trust, Aquifer Partnership, Living Coast.
How will flooding risks be assessed?
Why are you working with a PR agency?
The valley is home to and supports a number of at risk and endangered species e.g. the Hazel Dormice, European Hedgehogs, Badgers, pipistrelle bats, brown hairstreak butterflies, Swifts, to name just a few. The section marked for development is a key site for such species, including providing crucial foraging ground for migrating birds. How do you propose to mitigate the loss of this space and do your part to halt the decline of biodiversity in the UK?
Hundreds of trees will need to be felled in order to provide space for the houses in your plan. It will not be possible to mitigate this loss locally. How will you ensure that the air quality in the local area does not diminish as a result?
Increased traffic and parking; how will you mitigate the increased pollution levels that this will bring to an already congested area?
Why have you renamed the valley, Benfield Park? Whose anyone’s opinion did you ask before you chose this name?
How will 100 dwellings be delivered? Flats? Houses? How will you fit that amount of homes on such a fragile site without doing damage to the local wildlife, aquifer, noise and light pollution levels?
How will you guarantee that 40% of the homes will be council properties? Will the rest be genuinely affordable?
Energy delivery plans & insulation - gas boilers or sustainable forms of energy such as solar panels, air/ground source heat pumps?
Swift and bee bricks, green roofs, mammal tunnels; what will happen to the mammal tunnel that currently runs underneath the Hangleton Lane that is used by local mammals, especially badgers and red foxes?