Conservatives are calling on the South Downs National Park Authority to reject an application by the Green Administration of Brighton & Hove City Council, supported by the Labour Group, to build a new permanent traveller site in the National Park at Horsdean, next to the existing transit site.
The planning application was submitted yesterday (23rd September) and will be determined by the National Park Authority’s Planning Committee. The public consultation period is expected to open in two weeks time.
Conservatives have raised a number of fundamental concerns with the plans:
• It would set a dangerous precedent for further development in the South Downs National Park
• The site sits right on top of the main abstraction adit for the aquifer that supplies much of Brighton & Hove’s drinking water, leading to serious risk of contamination
• The cost of the infrastructure required to connect the site to the mains sewer (involving drilling piping under the A27 bypass) will be exorbitant
• Locating the permanent and transit sites together will inevitably mean costly management and traffic problems caused by having high numbers of travellers (up to over 100 at any time) and vehicles in one place, particularly with access off the busy A27.
Cllr. Geoffrey Theobald, Conservative Group Leader and Ward Councillor for Patcham, where the site will be located, said: “The Patcham Conservative councillors are astonished that the Greens, supported by Labour, are still going ahead with this planning application given all the problems. Residents campaigned long and hard for the National Park and I don’t think they will be too happy if one of its first big decisions is to give the green light for a large and unsightly caravan park. We still have serious concerns about the potential for contamination of the water aquifer that supplies much of Brighton & Hove and the proposed solution of building a pipe under the A27 will be extremely expensive.”
Conservative Parliamentary candidate for the Brighton Pavilion constituency, Clarence Mitchell, added: “As usual, the Greens, with Labour’s support, appear to be putting ideology before the wishes of the electorate. The residents of Patcham and Hollingbury are united in their opposition to this extension of the existing transit site. Nor will the plan do anything to solve the ongoing problems caused by unauthorised traveller encampments. This is an unnecessary, expensive and unwanted proposal from a party of the environment that at times appears intent on damaging it. I call on the SDNPA’s Planning Committee to reject the plan in its entirety.”