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caviar farm developer gets fast response from East Sussex Highways to remove local protest signs

Editor:- September 1, 2016 - A van bearing the logo of East Sussex Highways was seen driving along Chiltington Lane, in East Chiltington near Lewes this morning and stopping to remove and take away A3 signs which had been put up by residents outside their houses and driveways in a mile long protest against a planning application by a London based development company to "improve" the local landscape and biodiversity by building artificial lakes, processing facilities and a house up on sloping grassland overlooking the South Downs national park.

this van from east sussex highways removes postersWhen local residents asked what he was doing - the gentleman from the van said that East Sussex County Council Highways department had received a strong complaint by the developer about the signs.

Talking about this role (which is undertaken by contract to Costain) he said he had collected and disposed of over 1,500 signs in recent months which (in the opinion of East Sussex Highways) breached their guidelines about visibility of signs along the road.

one of the correct ways to place a protest poster
one of several "correct" ways
to place a protest poster
When asked how were these signs any different to other types of temporary signs which you often see along the roads such as house for sale, and political election signs and signs about Brexit - he said the rules were enforced the same way.

Residents learned about the plan via letters from Lewes District Council in the days leading up to the Bank Holiday. A previous application by the same developer in April 2016 had been withdrawn after attracting objections by every household in the lane and due to inconsistencies and the technical deficit of reports accompanying the original plan.

Returning to the gentleman in the van in the lane this morning.

He learned he had been sent on this urgent mission at taxpayers' expense to publicly conceal the level of local opposition to a development plan to upcycle some grass fields upslope of an often dry winterbourne stream in which sea trout come to spawn.

Residents learned that some of their signs were undoubtedly in the correct places (as deemed by the Highways department) and learned the correct rules for placing such signs in future. (Correct as interpreted by the people who are sent to remove them.)

Although residents believed they already had "deemed" planning consent to place such signs on land outside their houses on verges which beloned to their properties in the interests of harmony and to avoid wasting more taxpayers' money the money they promised to place such signs in future in the officially "correct" places.

One resident who had her sign removed said she has now applied to Lewes District Council for planning permission to erect the sign.

All signs now in the lane have been placed in accordance with the highways rules (or are pending planning permission) so we don't expect to see this same van here for the same purposes again.

But the clock is ticking because residents (many of whom were on holiday when the plan was lodged) now only have about two weeks to read nearly two hundred pages of documents and make formal comments before the deadline closes.

This is how democracy is working in rural East Sussex today.

When discussing this story with various residents this morning it was noted that the Highways department had reacted very swiftly to a request by a London based development company to remove these protest signs - whereas requests by local residents to fix or replace fallen down safety signs in the local lanes by bridges have apparently received no action after many months and even quarters.

For more on this story and links to supporting information see wrongthingwrongplace.com
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what do the posters say?

You can download an A4 pdf to support news about this story here.

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"We are very lucky to live and work in such a beautiful place. The proposed caviar farm could leave us with a permanent scar on the landscape in return for little or no economic benefit to the area. This is just the wrong place for this enterprise."
Janet Downes, a resident of Chiltington Lane in the press release - Residents Meet to Protest Caviar Farm Development in Chiltington Lane, near Lewes - September 8, 2016

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say no poster - landscape image
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removed posters article

Every household in the lane has objections to the caviar plan and residents believe the developer Kenneth Benning who owns the fields but lives in London was embarrassed for it to be so publicly visible that there is zero local support for his plan to terraform the fields contrary to planning policies for the conservation area.

The justification of one part time agricultral job to feed the fish has also been used to support a plan to include a 3-4 bedroom house on the site. Although if you look at the collection and arrangement of these building on the plan and how they relate to "support" building, and their siting on the plot to capture views of the national park over the road they can be viewed as being closer to resembling the virtual footprint of a caviar mansion in waiting (viewed as a whole) rather than merely a convenient set of "agricultural" units.


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1 of more than 30 posters in the lane


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later:- - In what was described by the Chair of the Council , Buzz Harrison as - the best attended East Chiltington parish council meeting she could recall - East Chiltington Parish Council this evening spent nearly 2 hours discussing an application for a caviar farm in Chiltington Lane. ...read more