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the Eton versus East Chiltington chronicles

the first 6 months as reported upto mid July 2021


February 2021

"If we don't blow this concept out of the sky then we'll get the concrETONization of East Chiltington, Plumpton and splatterings all along the shadows of the South Downs."
hello Etongrad! - as in Stalingrad etc - article on Chiltington Lane
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March 2021

Lewes Forum discussion on lewes.co.uk
Commuterton, ConcrEton, Covid Asylum, Downsview, Dunfarmin, East ChiltingTown, East Plumpton, £ton, Etonbury, Eton-cum-Chailey, Etongrad, Eton Mess, Etonot Green, Etonplex, Eton Towers, Great Blighton, Gridlock, Least Chiltington, New Newick, Quidsinbury, Rurallerton, Wealdtown, West Cooksbridge, Wivelsfield Down, WrongThingWrongPlace,

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"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

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"Councillor 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.

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"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

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"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

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"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

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"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)

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"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.

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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

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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.

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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..

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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.

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silent spring and concrETON image wrongthingwrongplacedotcom"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."

Zsolt Kerekes, editor wrongthingwrongplace - in the article - Final Spring in Novington Lane? (March 30, 2021).

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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
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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

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do the conspirators get to eat? - Eton vs East Chiltington chronicles under lockdown
Editor:- April 10, 2021 - do the conspiritors (sic) get to eat?

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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.

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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

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news East Chiltington Parish Council April 20, 2021 - halt new town
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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

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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

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Sussex Express story  about signs opposing Eton's new town plans  springing up in East Chiltington
May 17. 2021 - Signs opposing plans for 3,000 new homes on Eton College-owned land spring up in East Chiltington - was the headline in a Sussex Express article which said - among other things - "Almost 1,500 supporters have joined the group Don't Urbanise the Downs to protest proposals to build 3,000 homes on land owned by Eton College... ...read the article

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Plumpton Parish Council news
May 17, 2021 - Plumpton Parish Council announced that an Inter-Council working party has been formed to fight the Eton College 'New town' threat and will also work together to oppose any unplanned and unwanted development.

This group is made up of councillors from East Chiltington, Plumpton, Chailey, Hamsey, Barcombe, Wivelsfield, Streat, Westmeston and Ditchling.

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the landscape assessment walks in East Chiltington

What do you like in this landscape?

What makes you happy being here?

Do you recognise the dogs?

Was it really that long ago?
. the landscape survey walks in East Chiltington remembered

Editor:- May 20, 2021 - Published today - a new article - the landscape assessment walks in East Chiltington - looks back at an event which has particular relevance today - when we're thinking about what it is we're trying to protect. ...read the article

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South Downs Eton by dog - wrongthingwrongplace.com
Editor:- May 26, 2021 - WrongThingWrongPlace.com today unveiled South Downs Eton by dog - a new artwork in the Eton versus East Chiltingon chronicles. South Downs Eton by dog is #5 in the series - planning protest artwork in East Chiltington. If you click on the image above you can see the artwork along with a frame grab and pdf of the home page - captured on the the day it made its entrance to the world wide web.

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Argus brings smiles to residents changing Eton  College to Eaton
A story in The Argus (May 29, 2021) headlined - Residents slam Eaton College plans to build near South Downs - added some amusement to its reporting of the grisly Eton vs East Chltington chronicles with its re-spelling of the principal antagonist's name to "Eaton" (sic) in the main headline and also in a related photo caption - although these little touches may have changed by the time you read this.

Among other things the Argus report quotes an Eton-Welbeck spokesman who said...
"The plans being developed represent an innovative and sustainable response to the need for local housing. All development at scale in England is likely to be controversial but we are committed to engaging with our local partners, stakeholders and the community to develop our plans with the needs of the district and the wider area as a central focus."
...read the article

June 2021

"Poor grasslands didn't ask Eton for death by concrete.... They need your help to protect them. The land developers who are working with Eton and others to convert East Chiltington into Eton-cum-Chailey, and turn Plumpton Greeen into Old Plumpton Street - know a lot more about this than we do. So it's time to level up the odds."
Planning??? - 3 new guides article - WrongThingWrongPlace.com

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Eton Greed - the Eton vs East Chiltington chronicles - protest artwork #6
Editor:- June 11, 2021 - WrongThingWrongPlace.com today unveiled ETON GREED - a new artwork in the Eton versus East Chiltingon chronicles.

ETON GREED will be appearing in a number of specially created contextually related articles in coming days.

ETON GREED is #6 in the series - planning protest artwork in East Chiltington.

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How many more Sussexes can we afford to lose? - article  image
Editor:- June 17, 2021 - How many more Sussexes can we afford to lose?

GB lost an area of grassland to #urbanisation equivalent to the counties of Sussex and Suffolk combined in just 25 years - according to a satellite based research study by UKCEH.

One thing which doesn't help. £2 million / acre gain in value by land promoters getting planning permission to redesignate fields for houses in Sussex. (Source - UK gov data and developer's own press releases.) ...read more (on my linkedin page)

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Consultation in developerspeak and greenwash

Editor:- June 18, 2021 - Consultation is a word which the residents of East Chiltington and Plumpton are going to get tired of seeing soon (adding to the weary list of Eton, new town, etc).

In a new article - consultation in planning - the burglar analogy - I take a serious look at what this word really means for objectors to the obnoxious plans which surround us.

I've based my interpretations on how I've seen "consultation" used in the wild in real planning applications by land developers and also by the planning department in Lewes District Council. ...read the article

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Guardian news - Eton versus the sea trout in East Chiltington
A story in the Guardian (June 19, 2021) headlined - Eton v the sea trout: college's land sale sparks fears of river pollution - includes a statement from Sam St Pierre, vice- chair of the Ouse & Adur River Trust - who said...

"If the Bevern got further polluted, the trout here could disappear they could just go extinct in this particular stream. And we're not talking about acute pollution. We're talking about the kind of general low-grade pollution that you would get as run-off from urban development. If it degraded the spawning area, the sea trout could just disappear and a vitally important population could be wiped out." ...read the article

Editor's comments:- I used to see the sea trout in the Roman's winterbourne which ran through my garden in Chiltington Lane. OART were surprised how far up the water courses these fish had come when I showed them in 2016.

The first few times I saw them, I thought I had imagined it. They were swimming up the current between Christmas and New Year. But others saw them too and Sam St Pierre (quoted in the Guardian story) walked with me along the stream to see for himself the spawning area which in summer is just a bunch of ponds connected by the gravel bottom.

That's why the shade of trees along the banks is important too - apparently - to prevent the water temperature getting too hot. These fish, up to 2 feet long, swim all the way from the sea into Chiltington Lane. An amazing feat of nature. That's why we have to be careful about water runoff from hard surfaces.

The Eton site would terminate millions of years of nature's adaptations and co-survival with past inhabitants here who may have lacked Eton's grandeur but who were closer to the authentic realism of nature.

Protecting the sea trout was a pivotal part of an earlier successful campaign against a caviar farm development - which was orders of magnitude smaller and less damaging to the environment than the Eton slot machine town would be. The sea tout had their own signs and placards all along these lanes.

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the Bald Explorer video - Eton College Plans to build a New Town in Rural East Sussex
Editor:- June 21, 2021 - In a new episode of the Sunday Chat - Richard Vobes - discusses the Eton new town plans in East Chiltington. Among other things he says...

"It's just abhorrent that somebody can take what is farmland that has been farmed for centuries and they're the custodians of and then sell it prevent it from being farmed for future generations. It doesn't seem right. It doesn't settle with me at all that somebody can say no - from now on I'm the one that's going to make the decision and take a profit and not let anybody in the future farm on this piece of land."

Richard said in his Sunday Chat he'd publish a video of his walk around the Eton new town site on Monday. And he did. ...watch the video

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click to read the planning article by Rosie Pearson
Editor:- June 25, 2021 - a new article in NationalWorld by Rosie Pearson - co-founder of the Community Planning Alliance - reveals the scale of resources which rural residents - who are under attack by unwanted new town developments - may need to muster to defend their green spaces against concrEtonization. Among other things the article says...

"Rosie Pearson... cut her teeth in a campaign against the biggest new settlement proposed anywhere in England. The new town known as West Tey, with up to 28,000 homes was hugely unpopular with local people. The campaign group had to raise over £100,000 to fight 4 local authorities." ...read the article

Editor's comments:- Rosie won her campaign to stop the new town and has since been providing valuable insights to hundreds of groups around the UK.

You can keep up to date with her group's objector ninja activities by clicking on her name above and in the usual ways. DUTD has recently aligned with her meta campaign group and East Chiltington is on their map / radar.

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ft article with no Eton new town poster in Chapel Lane
Editor:- June 25, 2021 - a new article in the FT - Battles loom as housing developers eye rural England - features in one of its photos a Don't Urbanise The Downs poster staged in Chapel Lane, East Chiltington by the library. Among other things the article says...

"Developers want to build all of the housing down here because it is where they make the money, said Councillor James MacCleary, Leader of Lewes District Council.

Editor's comments:- All "guaranteed" money making investment schemes come to an end. The "invest in UK land schemes" is no exception.

When the primary sources of the money read the runes and understand what's likely to happen when democratic forces take back control of the planning colleges in England the taps will start to close. And most of the speculative, hostile developments will go the same way as the vampires when poked with Buffy's pointy stick. We won't miss them.

BTW - the library (red phone box) is listed in - the World's Most Charming Bookshops (February 2021) by travel blogger Ellie Seymour.

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Dear Residents, I too share your concerns

Editor:- June 29, 2021 - At the weekend residents of East Chiltington on the mailing list of Lewes MP Maria Caulfield received a letter about the Eton College plans.

click to enlarge - letter re Eton vs East Chiltington to residents from MP Maria CaulfieldAmong other things Maria Caulfield says...

"I have been working with local campaigners and am supporting them in the fight."

...read the letter

Editor's comments:- Maria Caulfield confirmed her strong opposition to the Eton scheme at the outset of the public awareness timeline but it was unclear to me what powers to stop hostile developments - even an MP has - in the current planning framework - because they are not part of the local plan making or planning decision making process - despite having the power to "call in" exceptionally questionable decisions for external scrutiny.

So although it has been good for morale to know that Maria has been on "our side" and it's been impressive to hear how many meetings she's had with resident stakeholder groups - it was only with her recent active engagements on the facebook pages of Don't Urbanise the Downs - that some new messaging began to emerge - hinting at the possibility that there might be more that could be done from the MP toolbox angle to put the brakes on the Eton plan.

You can see what Maria Caulfield did say in her materially significant letter by clicking here. (I've redacted the addressee.)

Editor's follow up comments:- The distorted shape of democratic influences in the current planning system gives more power to small groups like developers and planners than residents.

Add to this a widely held assumption of pro-developer bias by planners who are not compelled to recuse themselves from making decisions about the very projects to which they have given pre-planning advice - in effect marking their own homework - and you can't help but marvel that residents who are opposed to hostile plans don't just give up - because the planning consultation processes are so complicated and give the appearance that objection votes don't count..

The current planning system is flawed and its outcomes unpredictable. But when so many people in the local community are concerned by these decisions and working to influence the outcome - this is real democracy at work. ...permalink for this article

July 2021

click to get bigger image  - Lewes District Map - consultation for local plan
... click to expand
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Do you want new towns?

just tell us where

says Lewes District Council

news:- Friday, July 9, 2021 - Lewes District Council today launched its Local Plan - Issues and Options consultation. This is to inform the planners whether residents prefer to achieve house building targets by having a small number of huge sites - such as the Eton new town or if they prefer it done by a large number of small sites. ...read the article here

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is that an email from the campaign group?

or is it from our MP?

the message was
how to stop the Eton new town

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what happened next?
see news unfolding on the home page


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Eton versus the sea trout
South Downs Eton by dog
Final Spring in Novington Lane?
consultation - the burglar analogy
the simple ma££s of planning gain
the landscape survey assessment walks East Chiltington
National Press coverage in the campaign group's archive