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Downland Working Farms Proposal

What are we proposing?

The Downland, within the boundaries of Eastbourne, consists of two parts. The Open Downland (which is freely accessible to members of the public) and the Downland working farms (which are not).

Our proposal is to offer for sale the freeholds of the Downland working farms. The Council would still be retaining over 1000 acres of Open Downland, including Beachy Head. You can download the related Downland Working Farms Proposal document below for full details regarding this matter.

We hope these  frequently asked questions are helpful and answer any queries you have regarding this proposal. If you do have a concern or question that you feel is not already covered, please submit it to We will commit to publishing it, together with our response, on this list as soon as possible.

Please note that this list was last updated 21/02/2017. 

Proposed Sale of the Freehold of the Downland Working Farms FAQs

1.1What is the Council proposing to sell?
1.2Why are the Downland farms being sold?
1.3When was the decision made to sell the farms and who made it?
1.4Why wasn'’t the October 2015 Downland farms Cabinet report published? Can we see the report?
1.5If it is agreed to sell the Downland farms, when will they be sold?
2.1What protection will there be for the Downland?
2.10Where are the covenants available publicly?
2.11How would the Council ensure that the covenants are enforced?
2.12Can covenants be legally removed or set aside?
2.13 Are the two Estates that the Council is currently negotiating with the original owners of the land and do they have pre-emptive rights to buy...
2.2What protection will there be for the farmers?
2.3Will the Downland be at risk of fracking after the sale?
2.4Would other types of farming be allowed on the farms once they are sold?
2.5Who is the ultimate planning authority for the South Downs National Park?
2.6Will an Environmental Impact Assessment be undertaken prior to the sale?
2.7Is there any protection ensuring that damaging agriculture processes are not introduced on the land after the sale?
2.8What protection is there for the chalk aquifer that is underneath the farms?
2.9What protection is there to ensure inappropriate development won't happen in the future?
3.1How much capital receipt will the Council make from the proposed sale?
3.2How will capital receipts be spent on projects and services in Eastbourne?