Statement from Chris Skinner

This meadow embodies all seven special qualities of the National Park.

It is as much a part of our cultural heritage as an old barn or a windmill. It makes a distinctive contribution to our sense of place, preserving the rural, agricultural character of our surroundings.

According to the recent Sustainability Appraisal, The meadow is sited within one of the most tranquil areas in the Park. It has an important separation function between two villages; preserving their distinct identities.

A highly visible component in the landscape, it can be seen for miles; developing the meadow will certainly spoil “inspirational landscapes “ and “breathtaking views”.

97% of our flower-rich hay meadows have disappeared from the UK within living memory. How will people understand and enjoy the special qualities of this meadow if it has gone? Destruction of this scarce cultural and wildlife resource is in conflict with Purpose 1 and 2 of the National Park.

This is a Major Development. As such it should be refused in a National Park unless there are exceptional circumstances in the public interest. There are none here.

Of all the villages within the National Park, Coldwaltham has been assessed by The Hierarchy Study as one of its least sustainable settlements.  Yet: It has the largest housing allocation (40) of all the rural villages in East and West Sussex. The village population will increase by nearly 11%.

Coldwaltham has by far the largest land allocation in the Park;  The whole meadow will be destroyed, with roughly half of it going for housing, the other half for car parking and open space. Why do we need any open space on the edge of the Arun Valley, with all its footpaths?

Because the housing plot is so large, each house will have on average 1/4 acre per plot, one of the lowest housing densities in the Park. Why is so much land needed for this?

This is not a balanced, proportional allocation. It is unfair and it is not in the public interest to proceed with it.

Since the original allocation was withdrawn, the plot has moved within the meadow; it has doubled, then quadrupled in size and the houses have increased from 20 to 40. None of this has been subject to a Regulation 18 consultation.

The Parish Council’s objection to the current proposal, which surfaced on 2 June, was acknowledged, but ignored, with the remark that there would be plenty of time for comment in September.

The National Park has failed in its duty to conduct appropriate stakeholder consultations. We are not opposed to development, but there are other sites in the village that are more suitable.

We urge that this site be removed from the emerging Local Plan to enable an adequate and fair consultation about the issues outlined above.

 

Chris Skinner

Coldwaltham Meadow Conservation Group

Should 40 new homes, right on our doorstep replace this?

 

Our Parish Council meets on Tuesday evening 13th June to consider the proposal that would allow up to 40 new homes to be built on this meadow,next to Brookview and Brooklands Way, on an area as big as the two estates combined.

The map shown in Sussex Local (June issue, p47) is wrong. The proposed housing area is actually twice the size and cover all the higher part of the meadow. It will bring more traffic and disturbance to our area and will almost join up Coldwaltham and Waterfield. Our country village is in danger of becoming just another chunk of suburbia.

You can find out more from visiting: The South Downs National Park website planning applications SD Local Plan Pre-submission papers (pages 238-242).

This meadow is full of flowers, butterflies and birds. It is the only flower-rich meadow in Coldwaltham and one of the most colourful in the National Park. Did you know that 97% of meadows like this have disappeared from the UK in the last 75 years? We should protect those that remain.

The National Park Authority is also proposing a carpark close to the entrance to Waltham Brooks Nature Reserve. The reserve forms part of the Arun Valley Special Protection Area. This means it is one of the most important sites for wildlife in Europe. There is already a problem with disturbance of livestock and wildlife and many more people living and visiting here will only add to this.

The National Park Authority already acknowledges that the meadow is a site of “high landscape sensitivity”. This is because it can easily be seen across the Wildbrooks from the Sportsman Pub in Amberley or from Rackham Mount on the South Downs Way. A new area of housing as big as Brookview and Brooklands Way combined, would certainly spoil the view!