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the Eton versus East Chiltington chronicles

Did you come here to read about the Chiltington Caviar Farm story? That salty old tale made a big splash in 2016 and is now laid to rest. In 2021 - a much bigger and worse scheme began targeting East Chiltington.
As the UK anticipated the end of lockdown in April - Eton College disclosed plans to secure its future finances by building over vast swathes of Sussex downland
Eton vs East Chiltington - first impressions

hello Etongrad!
Housing fight in Lewes
Final Spring in Novington Lane
Nolands Plumpton - 1st cut to new town?
250 objections (so far) - deadline is Friday, May 14th
"The elephant in the room is the Eton land housing proposals (3000 houses) and the Nolands farm development (89 houses - ed) is the easement to the larger scheme." - objection by Mr Hamish Black 12/5/2021 - ...read more
Lewes Planning Wars... the Fields of Eton
Eton's controversial plans to build 3,000 homes
donturbanisetheDowns.com - why our supporters object
Property speculators working on behalf of Eton College want to build an entirely new town (3,250 houses that's the new offer - formerly bid in 2012 as 5,000 houses) on open farmland fields owned by Eton which face the South Downs in a rural parish called East Chiltington. Which place sounds almost like a Saxon village in name - but true to its roots remains - astonishingly still extant- a sparsely populated handful of single track lanes, homesteads and micro hamlets which have mostly been swaddled together in the way you see them now since before the Norman Conquest.

East Chiltington? - never heard of it. That's why it's stayed special. Where is it? On the northern side of the South Downs National Park and 5 miles west of the city of Lewes in East Sussex. It's a 5 miles walk (or 11 miles drive) over the Downs from the Falmer campus of Sussex University.

The timeline below - chronicles the public's growing awareness of the Eton new town threat to Lewes - and what was being said about it - from the end of February (when it first flared up in local conversations in the lanes affected) upto early May.


Eton's new town - wrongthingwrongplace

Timeline - first public awareness to now

February 2021

"Heading this way and portending the end of all life as we know it - an entirely new town at the end of the lane."
From the article hello Etongrad! in ChiltingtonLane.com - by resident C L Scribbler - which says - among other things...

"In the classic Bruce Willis scifi film Armageddon Earth is threatened by a giant asteroid which has been detected to be on course to crash into us and wipe out the surface of our planet. Something similar has been happening here in Chiltington Lane in recent days as (despite being locked legally tight in our all too familiar covid cells) news has been trickling in - sightings of a giant alien monolith which has been spotted to be on course to crashland a short stroll away in the vicinity of Novington Lane." ...read the article

March 2021

"Why can't they build it on the famous Playing Fields of Eton that cultivated such great statesmen as.... um.... Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, our beloved leader?"
Tom Pain responding to name for a new town west of Lewes - ideas? in the Lewes Forum

"By the time the March magazine is received in our homes readers will doubtless have been made aware... of the threat of a development proposal of 3,000 houses at North Barns Farm which would undoubtedly change the character of our Parish to that of a small town similar in size to Hassocks."
Plumpton & East Chiltington Parish Magazine - March 2021

"Cllr.Elms explained that East Chiltington did not have a neighbourhood plan as Lewes District Council designates the parish as a Hamlet not suitable for development. MP Maria Caulfield said - the District plan should act as a safeguard."
Minutes of the virtual meeting of East Chiltington Parish Council (March 10, 2021) - to agree the council response to the LDC draft methodology statement with particular regard to the proposed site for 3,000 houses at North barnes Farm, East Chiltington.

Editor's note:- you can confirm that East Chiltington is currently absent from the list of towns and parishes listed in the LDC Neighbourhood Plan page - which might be due to its special characteristics and its historic antipathy about having big makeover plans cast in its general direction.

"The actions of the College highlight a long term weakness of the planning system. ...the Colleges main (business) activity on the land it owns has been the collection of rents from (agricultural) tenants. Now, with hardly any effort at all they may make a big profit."
Lewes Planning Wars... the Fields of Eton - article in the Lewes Eye

"The Eton college proposal is completely unacceptable, and I have offered to call this in with the Secretary of State"
Maria Caulfield, MP, for Lewes

"As local councillors, we oppose these huge developments. It is also pointless building homes in the wrong place. As well as losing valuable green fields. Plumpton has already agreed to some new housing in its Neighbourhood Plan, which is why we will also oppose speculative applications such as the Nolands Farm site.

We are supporting an on-line petition against the huge increase in housing numbers - tinyurl.com/4z4qwh8h (Stop Government plans to concrete over Sussex)."
Councillor Sarah Osborne - Ouse Valley West and Downs

Councillor Rob Banks - Lewes District Council

"In summary, East Chiltington Parish Council does not consider that the proposed site is suitable, achievable, deliverable or developable..."
East Chiltington Parish Council in their 22 page response to draft inquiries- re site EC11. 206 hectares. 3,000 houses (pdf)

"Eton College cherishes its own 550 year history and we'd like to see them treating this landscape with the same respect and sense of heritage..."
Mike Elms - East Chiltington Parish Councillor (March 19, 2021) - in a launch press release - by the Don't Urbanise the Downs - Stop East ChiltingTown action group.

5 days later:- the group's press release (mentioned above) was picked up and published by several UK news outlets including the The Times - 'Greedy' Eton wants to build 3,000 homes on unspoilt South Downs - and The Telegraph - 'Greedy' Eton College criticised over plans to overwhelm rural village with 3,000 new homes.

Eton vs East Chiltington - Mail story March 2021
A story in the Mail Online (March 24, 2021) headlined - Angry villagers blast Eton over controversial plans to build 3,000 homes on 500-acre plot of unspoilt countryside it owns in East Sussex - says among things.

"Furious locals have accused Eton of double standards as the college seeks to reduce its own carbon footprint by installing LED lights in its houses and solar panels on its sports hall. Last year Eton's environment society held a Zoom webinar which focused on what 'everyone can do to help the environment." ...read the article

BBC tv news clip of East Chiltington aired March 27, 2021
On March 27, 2021 - the BBC aired the first broadcast tv story about the East Chiltington vs Eton Welbeck new town development. This link - https://youtu.be/4y4l5fBCWOo - takes you to a 2 minute news clip from that broadcast which has been archived on YouTube. The copyright of the video is 100% owned by the BBC.

audio summary of Eton vs East Chiltington story  March 2021
On March 28, 2021 - an audio summary of the Eton vs East Chiltington story appeared on 00Breaking News on YouTube. It's a clever blend of extracts from earlier web news stories and PR delivered in a 5 minute audio package..

new messages from campaign group
March 29, 2021 - newly updated web site by the campaign group Don't Urbanise the Downs
Worth another visit even if you saw it as recently as yesterday. Reveals some of the hard work which has been going on behind the scenes to weaponise local talents and create a cogent voice to represent residents and friends of these communities who would be in the devastation zone.


Dear XXX [insert] Lewes planning person

March 31, 2021

letter writing - Jane Austen - goblinsearch.comDid you get the email?

What're you going to do about it?

As East Chiltingtons we're good at this letter writing stuff.

If you were on the list and got that request in recent days from the campaign group - to start letter writing about the Eton new town plan - then I'm asking you to pause and ...read here - making change happen with campaign letters

April 2021

protest letter about Eton new town in Plumpton East Chiltington  Parish Mag April 2021
No New Town in the South Downs was the headline in a letter by the campaign group Don't Urbanise the Downs which was inserted in print editions of the April 2021 edition of the Plumpton and East Chiltington Parish Magazine.

Among other things the letter says - "This (Eton College) scheme just doesn't make sense... its enormous scale is not supported by local housing needs or existing infrastructure... This loss of green space would damage the landscape of the South Downs forever... and concrete over historical farmland." ...click for larger picture here

video April 2021 - no new town at foot of the Downs -  from Libdems - Eton vs  East Chiltington
Editor:- April 18, 2021 - Most of the initial fuss about Eton's new town plan has had its centre of gravity in East Chiltington and Plumpton - because that's where ground zero of the Etongrad incident would be. But a reminder that the fallout would also spoil a much wider area has surfaced in a recent campaign video on YouTube by the Liberal Democrats who have created a related online petition asking the government to stop plans to concrete over Sussex.

In the new video Sarah Osborne (who is standing as a candidate in the Ouse Valley West and Downs Ward in the forthcoming ESCC election) says - among other things...

"Eton College... want to concrete over this untouched farmland and that will have a devastating impact not just on the countryside but wildlife and on our rural community. The impact on the traffic will be huge - not just round here but in the villages beyond:- Ditchling, Chailey and Wivelsfield..." ...watch the video

See also:- list of candidates East Sussex County Council Election.

Is this how it begins? - While your attention is diverted towards the big Eton Mess - could this Trojan Horse by another developer in the same lane let the new town in by the side door?
Editor:- April 16, 2021 - A detailed formal planning application LW/21/0262 has been lodged in the past week to build 89 houses on farmland in Plumpton Green along North Barnes Lane. The site - called Nolands Farm - isn't owned by Eton College - but is on land close to the Eton site. ...read why residents are saying No to Nolands
Nolands Farm site - thin end of the wedge  to enable Eton new town

news East Chiltington Parish Council April 20, 2021 - halt new town
Editor:- April 20, 2021 - ECPC has issued an update on its news page to signal what it's doing to "achieve an early halt to proposals to build 3,000 houses in East Chiltington on land owned by Eton College."

May 2021

NorthBarnesFarm.co.uk launched

to support Eton's new town plans in Lewes
North Barnes Farm web site launchEditor:- May 7, 2021 - Developer Actors working on behalf of Eton College have launched a new web site northbarnesfarm.co.uk as part of an information campaign to support their previously announced intention to build a new town on farmland in East Chiltington in the region of North Barnes Farm along Novington Lane and around Highbridge Lane. ...read the news story


No Eton New Town

say new signs in East Chiltington

no Eton New Town in East Chiltington
news:- May 10, 2021 - At the weekend signs began appearing in the lanes and hedges around East Chiltington to alert friends and visitors to the risk that this countryside they're enjoying now will be lost forever if Eton College succeeds with its devastating new town plan. ...read the story
say no to new town - wrong thing wrong place
and here's another way people are saying it!
No Eton New Town
No Eton New Town sign in East Chiltington May 2021
news:- May 10, 2021 - At the weekend signs began appearing in the lanes and hedges around East Chiltington to grab the attention of visitors to these lanes and warn that there is a clear and present danger that this countryside will be lost forever if Eton College gets its way with its devastating self enriching new town plan. ...read the story

Cleverly crafted developer porn?
Editor's comments in news (May 7, 2021) that Eton-Welbeck have launched a consultation site to promote the Eton New Town concept in East Chiltington.
Is this how it begins?
Editor:- April 16, 2021 - A formal planning application LW/21/0262 has been lodged to build 89 houses on farmland in Plumpton. The site - Nolands Farm along North Barnes Lane - isn't owned by Eton College - but is on land adjacent.
Nolands Plumpton LW/21/0262 site
While your attention is diverted towards the big Eton Mess - could this Trojan Horse let in the new town by the side gate? Objections close May 14th. ...read why 120+ residents have already said No to Nolands

Final Spring in Eton's new town zone?

views below as seen at and close to the Northern edge of the Eton owned site in East Chiltington (March 17, 2021)
stream running near Novington Lane East Chiltington
Final spring?... the headline I used above - does that remind you of something?

For me it was half a thought away from Silent Spring. I was going to leave it there.

Sound familiar? Evoke any ideas? I'm sure it does for many of you. If not... Well anyway - it does no harm to say more about it here. And we're getting closer to connecting some ideas.
East Chiltington looking at the Downs from the Northern edge of the Eton site
the new town site - March 17, 2021
Silent Spring is a book. Many would say it's the classic book which sparked the fire of the ecological movement.

Rachel Carson's book was published in 1962 and what it said still had the power to both sadden me and shock me to the core when I read it in the 1980s. If you haven't read it yet It's a true story by the way. I can tell you this without spoiling the plot - the villain of the story is the agro chemical industry and its indoctrination of farmers by scientific and economic sophistry to kill nature which got in the way of business.

How could they do that? I thought - when I read it. My education was in electronics not touchy feely biological stuff. The book made me angry that people could do such stupid things. Didn't they know better?

Of course - by the time I first read that book - 20 years had passed since its publication - and we ALL knew better - mostly because of the impact that Carson's book and the movements it helped to educate had filtered through into the public at large.

What's Silent Spring got to do with Eton-Welbeck's new town plan for East Chiltington? Surely I'm not suggesting that DDT or some other modern kind of organophosphate pesticides are going to be sprayed over the site to clean it beforehand like some kind of bulk air freshener?

No. But similar kind of nature impacting idea... (maybe)

Here's my thinking. Pesticide residues can break down in the soil after a period ranging from weeks to months - and then the ground can be usable to grow something. The soil is not as good as it was before. And you might have killed most of the bugs and insects and birds for a long way around - and you also might have ruined the health of anyone who was breathing nearby - but you can still grow some stuff. Especially genetically modified crops whose DNA have been tuned to benefit from that kind of soil spring cleaning.
silent spring and concrETON image wrongthingwrongplacedotcom
What's this got to do with the new town? (These ideas seem a million miles away...)

We're getting closer...

I think concrete is the modern equivalent of the 1950s DDT villain which Carson wrote about in her book.

Once you have covered fields in concrete - they will be lost for hundreds of years as a natural ecosystem which cleans the air, drains the floodwaters and feeds us.

In some ways - concreting over precious green fields - when brownfield sites are available - in the 2020s in South East England - is more reckless and careless of the well being of future generations than spraying the 1950s fields of North American farms with plane loads of pesticides.

We should know better. And stop such things happening.

Going back to my title - Final Spring - someone who saw an early draft of that said to me - isn't that a bit strong? Didn't I know that the first phase of the planning consultation would take 2 years. Nothing's going to be built till then.

What I said was - yeah but - I've seen how things have happened on other development sites in other places... In those other places - the sites get cleaned up as part of a multi year preparation. Inconvenient trees and hedges get hair cuts. So that by the time the plans are ready to be submitted - the original sites are much tidier than they were at the start.

So... when such developers get around to filling in forms which ask questions - like:- will this affect any trees or hedges?

Tick the NO boxes, here, here and here. Nice and easy. Shiny new photos in the ecological survey report to prove what a clean site it is already.

Nature likes a bit of a mess.

So when I wrote - final spring? - I did mean it - as a cry of warning. Because if things go the wrong way - and accidents do happen - then I fear this could be the last time you see these places looking as untidy and natural as they do now. I would be happy to be proved wrong.

Better still. Stop the plans in their tracks. At every stage. Protect the future. We don't want to be the dupes portrayed in a future concrEton rewriting of Silent Spring.
East Chiltington Eton site  - sad grasses and  weeping skies
Rachel Carson resources
And no birds sing (BBC radio 2012) - "looks at the explosive impact of Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring and its role in the growth of the environmental movement."

The Environment in History - lists books recommended by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society
final words on final Spring
Remember me saying something about the damage which would be caused by Eton-Welbeck's unneeded new town in East Chiltington?

And my new field equation...

DDT(1950s) = concrete(2020s)

where "=" means "is just as bad"

permalink for this article above

Now take a look at these statistics below.

Natural grassland covers 5.8% of UK land area (in forests and semi natural areas).

Artificial surfaces cover 8.3%. That's 43% more!
Those statistics on UK Land Use come from a study Review of Key Trends and Issues in UK Rural Land Use - Report to The Royal Society (157 pages pdf) (August 2020) - which (among other things) also says this.

"Landownership data is notoriously difficult to obtain in the UK and even today information on who owns rural land in the country remains clouded in secrecy and difficulties. Church and Ravenscroft point towards - the problems of identifying owners, especially in areas where land registration is incomplete (many areas of rural England) and land is rarely bought and sold (registration only taking place as a result of such a transaction).

The current landownership structure of England is outlined in Table 4.2"
land ownership in the UK - click to see the full report by University of Reading
read the report

Eco Towns, Garden Cities, Garden Villages - I thought I understood English but it was a Developer who spoke them. Any idea what they mean?
The simple words eco and garden when prefixed to village, town or city can add up to create semi-descriptive phrases which are power loaded with wildly different connotations depending on who you are and the context in which they are encountered.

So you can't blame developers sprinkling these wordplay sauces liberally around their prospectus chalkboard menus to make their crunchy concreting dishes appear less ashen on the palette de jour. It's only natural!

On the other hand - countryphiles and rural protection campaigners who are at the unsolicited receiving end of these communications commonly report nocebo effects - including headache, nausea and a bitter aftertaste - due to a belief that jumbling together good words to disguise nature harming projects doesn't make their digestive outcomes any sweeter.

I was looking for a learner's guide to help me understand DeveloperSpeak And in a few clicks I found a very helpful phrase book on www.designingbuildings.co.uk

Here are links to translations of some DeveloperSpeak phrases which we might encounter more often in upcoming discourses on wrongthingwrongplace.com

eco town / garden town / garden city / garden community / garden village

Other competing interpretations are available.