Conservatives call on Greens to help save important natural sites in City Plan from development

Councillor Robert Nemeth, Conservative Spokesman on Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Equalities, has this morning called on the Green Group to urgently clarify its position on City Plan Part 2 and publicly indicate their support for Conservative objections over Brighton & Hove’s precious green spaces. This follow’s this morning’s confirmation that the City Plan Part 2 Special Council Meeting will go ahead on 23 April.


The 16 natural spaces that have been slated for development in City Plan Part 2 are listed in table 8, page 178 of the plan. The list includes Whitehawk Hill, Benfield Valley and Ovingdean Farm.


The Conservative Group of Councillors has taken a strong stand to save from development Brighton and Hove’s urban fringes which includes numerous important natural spaces adjoining the South Downs.


In its submitted amendments to City Plan Part 2 the Conservative Group has proposed the deletion of section H2 - which lists 16 greenfield sites on Brighton & Hove’s urban fringe for development – in its entirety.


The Labour administration has proposed no amendments to the plan, while the Green Group’s amendments will not save urban fringe land.


Conservative Group Spokesman on Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Robert Nemeth called on the Greens to urgently clarify their position and indicate their objections to the destruction of the city’s green spaces.


“We are ultimately hoping for cross-party support to save some of the city’s most important natural areas from development at a time when outside space should be appreciated more than ever. We don’t believe that the Labour Group will back us on this but hope that the Greens will provide support on this key environmental issue.


“With confirmation provided this morning that the City Plan Part 2 Council meeting will go ahead on 23 April by video conference, there is only a very short time available to save our green spaces. We know that the Labour Administration wants to rush this plan through.


“The 19 Green Councillors will now decide this issue and determine whether these 16 nature-packed sites will be saved or developed.


“I am today calling on the Greens to urgently clarify their position and publicly indicate their support for our arguments so that we can save Brighton & Hove’s green land for the future generations.


“If they cannot do this, it would confirm that they are no longer a Green Party but simply a satellite of this Labour administration” Councillor Nemeth said.


Conservative Group Leader Councillor Steve Bell said the environment should not have to suffer because of the Labour Administration’s failure to properly develop brownfield land in the city.


“The Conservative Group will be moving to remove all of the listed urban fringe sites from the City plan to protect them from development.” Councillor Bell said


“We have fought to protect our greenfield land in the past and we will always take a strong stand against the development of the City’s greenfield land.


“The Labour administration, which has been in power for 5 years, has failed on housing and failed to unlock the potential of brownfield sites in the City.


“Residents often comment on the many vacant brownfield sites and empty plots of land they see dotted around the city which Labour has not managed or developed properly.


“The environment should not have to suffer because of this administration’s inability to properly manage the City’s brownfield land.” he said.


Councillor Nemeth said that the move on green land was a panicked attempt by Labour to try to deliver elements of its 2019 manifesto, which stated a Labour administration would:


  • Drive an accelerated programme to buy and build homes to meet a range of housing needs, including temporary/emergency accommodation, supported housing, Housing First and general needs housing.


  • Massively expand council home building through government support, such as grants for capacity-building, and provide subsidies for social rents.


Source:  Page 6, Labour Manifesto for Brighton and Hove, May 2019


“As we know the Labour administration has been unable to deliver on its housing targets across the City over 5 years and now is turning its attention to green land.” Councillor Nemeth said.


“This proposal also continues Labour’s assault on the family home in Brighton, prioritising flats and mixed developments, with 50% or less of the proposed greenfield development sites devoted to traditional family homes.


“All this comes at the expense of our environment which should be protected.


“As the report states, the urban fringe allocations include green land adjoining open countryside and the South Downs National Park, with several sites overlapping with, or are close to, Local Wildlife Sites and underground chalk aquifers.


“We cannot support sacrificing our valuable green space to make up for Labour’s failure on housing policy.


“These sites all have significant environmental value and the Conservatives will always stand to protect them for future generations” Cllr Nemeth said.