in the news... wrongthingwrongplace.com
timeline from August 2016 to November 2016 how the media and
residents reported plans to build a caviar farm on grass slopes in East
Chiltington, East Sussex
No one would have believed as 2016
began that the UK's national media would descend on the residents of a hamlet
in East Sussex to feret a news story about a planning application.
But in August 2016 two pastural fields on a hill were purchased by a
London based caviar trader who had a fantastical plan to apparently upcycle
them into a caviar farm with luxurious housing for the lucky agricultural
|August 22, 2016|
August Bank Holiday and the sweet thwack of mallets tap
tapping in the new "say no to caviar farm" posters resounds down
"...residents of Chiltington Lane get
letters in the post saying there has been another application to build a caviar
farm alongside some of their houses." ...read
|August 26, 2016|
wrong thing wrong place - say no to
caviar farm (site launch)
"Let's have a look at the basic
idea If you wanted to build a fish farm where would you put it?."
|September 1, 2016 |
farm developer gets fast response from East Sussex Highways to remove local
"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..."
|September 8, 2016|
Residents Meet to
Protest Caviar Farm Plan in Chiltington Lane, near Lewes
of East Chiltington, St. Johns Without and Cooksbridge met last Sunday evening
(September 4, 2016) to discuss their concerns about a recent application to
Lewes District Council to build a caviar farm in Chiltington Lane, East
Chiltington (planning application LW/16/0695)."
|September 9, 2016|
at war with Britain's first Caviar farmer
by Joel Adams in - the Argus
"As you drive
through East Chiltington, along a single track road past a 200-year-old forge,
the only traffic to interrupt your journey is the occasional horse rider out for
an afternoon hack through the unspoilt countryside. Butterflies flit between
scattered houses dotted along lanes which follow the course of an ancient
winterbourne, a tiny waterway which in colder months carries run-off from the
chalk hills of the adjacent South Downs National Park. So it is easy to see
why the residents of one of the smallest parishes in England might be
concerned about proposals to build what they describe as a "semi-
industrial" fish farm in the midst of their rural idyll."
oppose plans for East Sussex's first caviar farm
by Adam Vaughan and Aletha Adu in -
reading "say no to Caviar farm", "save our sea trout" and "eating
up our landscape" have sprouted from hedges at almost every home along the
main road, which nestles below the South Downs escarpment. With immaculately
kept gardens running along the virtually traffic-free Chiltington Lane it is a
picture postcard English hamlet."
residents' anger at fish egg farmer's plan to produce caviar
- in - the Telegraph
"Protesters say that plans to drain water per day from natural resources
will drain the water table so badly that native sea trout will no longer be able
to use the stream, which only runs strongly in the winter months, to spawn.
Villagers are also concerned (about) the scale of the earthworks necessary to
create the scheme..."
farm? That's trout of order!
by Ben Wilkinson - in the Daily Mail
caviar farmer's plans for a tiny village have outraged residents who fear the
luxury food farm will spoil their rural idyll... Since plans were lodged last
month villagers have been erecting signs featuring cartoonish fish, with the
slogan - Save Our Sea Trout."
complain about caviar farm
in the the Express
A resident said -
"There is the sheer stupidity of the proposal itself, however much the
applicant may try to bombard you with 'science' it should be clear common sense
that no-one in their right mind would seek to build a fish farm on a slope above
The Express said - So far ten letters of objection from the
community have been sent into the planning committee at Lewes District Council,
Correction:- this report in the Express gave a
misleadingly low impression of local concerns about this planning
application. Even as late as September 25, 2016 - 9 days after the closing
period for comments - the LDC planning site still hadn't caught up with
incoming objections. (More about this later.)
the Express used a stock aerial image of a fish farm somewhere else on
planet Earth alongside a caption talking about East Chiltington. The photo was
not the Chiltington caviar farm site where there are no pre-existing ponds
or lakes. As you can see on the maps
|September 10, 2016|
farmer lobbies MP as councillors raise objections
by Joel Adams in - the Argus
Residents in the
tiny hamlet packed (a parish council meeting) on Thursday to share their fierce
opposition to the plan over the the scale of changes to the landscape, the
demands it will place on the natural water supply and its potential impact on
sea trout spawning grounds.
The developer Mr Kenning (who lives in London) told The Argus: "It's
all about farming, and this is the right place because East Chiltington is a
farming community. If you don't like it, don't live there."
Parish Council says No to Caviar Farm,
Minutes of a
meeting East Chiltington Parish Council to discuss caviar farm
|September 15, 2016|
of East Chiltington hamlet fight farmer's plans to build caviar fish farm
on More Radio
landscape is going to be completely changed, it is a bit like what they call
terraforming from science fiction stories."
|September 16, 2016 - the initial deadline
date for comments|
"Iit feels like an exam and high noon" -
BBC Sussex Breakfast
Pringle - BBC Radio
Neil played an interview with the developer and
London based caviar trader Ken Benning who lodged the planning application.
Benning said -
"There are no ponds on the site... The
professionals have stated clearly we will greatly increase the biodiversity of
Neil Pringle introduced the next speaker - "Janet
Downes is a local resident, organiser of the Chiltington caviar farm action
group - which is a name I wasn't expecting to read out this year. Hello Janet."
""A few ponds? That doesn't sound environmentally
damaging" said Neil
"It doesn't does it. But when you realise
how much earth they're going to have to move to build his 6 ponds and a
reservoir, along with his farm buildings and mobile (not very) home... then you
realise the impact this will have and to say it will increase biodiversity is a
joke. I mean it beggars belief that this scale of land movement will improve
this piece of lovely landscape."
|September 26, 2016 |
This was a note on the wrong thing wrong place dot com home page.
days after the deadline for comments and objections related to LW/16/0695 (the
Caviar Farm plan in East Chiltington) the Lewes District Council Web site (which
had for over 2 weeks got stuck and showed the situation only upto September 2nd)
has been changing throughout the course of the day in an attempt to catch up
with the embarrassing backlog to make this deluge of public interest information
|September 28, 2016 |
Rejection of Caviar Farm Plans from Local Residents
story from the Chiltington caviar farm action group
Ken's Campaign Crumbling?
"'As of yesterday evening the Lewes
District Council planning website showed that 104 individuals had
registered their formal objection to this plan. Most of the objectors are local
residents. Given the size of our parish this is an overwhelming demonstration of
opposition to this scheme,' said Janet Downes, local resident and organiser of
the Chiltington Caviar Farm Action Group,
'In addition respected
groups such as the CPRE (the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) and
OART (the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust) have objected, as have East Chiltington
and Hamsey parish councils. Our District Councillor, Sarah Osborne, and our MP,
Maria Caulfield, support the residents. The NFU has told me directly that they
do not support this application.'
She continued, '45 people expressed
support in comments on the LDC website none of them live in East
Chiltington. Most of them come from London or further afield. It is becoming
apparent that this scheme has less backing than Mr Benning led people to
|November 18, 2016|
over decision which could make UK's first Caviar farm a reality
Joel Adams in - the Argus
officers for Lewes District Council have recommended that an application for a
six-acre fish farm in East Chiltington, north of Plumpton, be granted by
councillors at a meeting next week." ...read the LDC
officer's report here (pdf)
Zsolt Kerekes, whose property is
adjacent to the fallow fields on which the fish ponds would be sited, said "There
were 110 objection letters, and not a single letter of support from the
If common sense has anything to do with it there'd be no
caviar farm in East Chiltington. The consultation has raised a lot of issues
which are now in the public domain so I want councillors to make their own
decisions based on all that."
The reporter Joel Adams says - "If
this story appeared on The
Archers, the BBC would be overwhelmed with complaints that it was too far
|November 18, 2016 |
caviar farm plan will be determined
A recently published
report from the
Lewes planning officer - LW/16/0695 (pdf) recommends acceptance of a plan
to create a caviar farm in East Chiltington.
judgement appears to many residents in Chiltington Lane to substantially
discount, disregard and completely fail to understand the significance of the
body of evidence collected by objectors during the consultation process.
But the risk that this might happen was not entirely unexpected
given the complexity and unusual aspects of the caviar farm scheme itself
and the attitude and tone of communications from the planning office which
often conveyed the impression that the residents were a nuisance who got in
the way of serious progress.
good thing about where we have arrived at the planning process is
that the data and supporting arguments for both sides (representing
thousands of hours of effort) are now well documented and in the public domain.
It will be up to the experienced members of the planning committee to
review summaries of the planning considerations involved without fear or favor
and let us know what they think.
The Chiltington Caviar Farm planning
application will be put before the Lewes District Council Planning Application
Committee (PAC) on 23rd November (17.00-21.00 at Council Chamber, County
Hall, St Annes Crescent, Lewes).
|November 23, 2016|
farm developer makes ungentlemanly comments about MP in caviar farm row
Flora Thompson in - the Argus
article reports several ungentlemanly remarks made to the paper made by Ken
Benning (who has submitted plans for a caviar farm in East Chiltington) who
was commneting on a
that Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has apparently asked the Secretary of State to
consider reviewing the decision.
The Argus says "Her request,
known as "calling it in", means if Lewes District Council's planning
committee approves the application tonight, it will be deferred to Mr Javid to
Lewes PAC votes to reject caviar farm
The meeting at Council Chamber, County Hall, St Annes
Crescent, Lewes tonight was well attended with around 30 objectors present (25
of whom wore Say No to Caviar Farm T-shirts which echoed the design of posters
which had been seen along the lanes since the August Bank Holiday). You'll see a
photo in the Argus later.
The 2 hour meeting was an edge of the seat
affair culminating in a 7 to 1 vote to reject the application on 3 main groups
of planning technicalities.
|November 23, 2016|
'elated' after council rejects caviar farm
Joel Adams in - the Argus
Joel Adams (who
attended the meeting) reported - "Lewes District Council planning
committee members voted seven to none, with one abstention, to reject the
six-acre fish farm in East Chiltington. The vote went against the advice of
the local authority's planning officers who recommendation the application was
"In proposing the motion to refuse the application,
councillor Vic Ient cited concerns over the viability of the experimental
business model, the impact on the character of the area and the plan's failure
to enhance the community. Several councillors also expressed concern over the
inclusion of a three-bedroom house on site."
In an interview after
the result leading campaigner Janet Downes said: "I feel elated. We thought
our chances were about 50-50 and I certainly didn't expect such an overwhelming
result. We know the developer will appeal, but we'll be ready for him."
Many attendees had already leftt the building when someone called
for a photo to add to the story. The Argus has one and another can be seen in a
by Councillor Sarah
BBC Sussex Breakfast
Pringle - BBC Radio
Shortly after the main news at 8 am Neil Pringle
carried out a live interview with the caviar farm plan applicant - Ken Benning
who lives in London and who bought the land in August 2016 which had been
retained as a future development asset by his parents when they left the
village over a decade earlier.
This was followed by questions to Janet
Downes who lives in one of the houses next to the sloping caviar farm fields -
and who was one of the 110 objectors to the plan. (There were no letters of
support for the plan from anyone in East Chiltington or from anyone living
within more than a mile from of the planned site. The closest supporters from
several miles away were Benning's parents who had sold him the landbanked
agricultural use fields.)
A partial transcript from the radio show
will appear here later. In the meantime
click on the BBC website
and fast forward to about 8.05 am to hear what was said.
|November 24, 2016|
farm rejected by Lewes planning committee
heard on More Radio
Among other things
the wouldbe caviar farm plan developer Ken Benning said - "We have come
under a lot of scrutiny, unfair scrutiny."
comments:- Scrutiny? - Yes deservedly so as part of the free and democratic
This is not a dictatorship where property
speculators can do whatever they want irrespective of the likely harm to the
environment and their neighbours.
The answer to the developer's
crocodile tears is - if you don't want the scrutiny - don't lodge silly
plans. There is no excuse for such feigned timidity and ignorance of the
environmental and planning issues given the scale of objection for the earlier
iteration of this speculative venture in April.
|November 25, 2016|
thing, wrong place?
Wrong thing, wrong place? was the front page story in
the Lewes edition of the Sussex Express which ran a story about the decision by
Lewes District Council to reject the application for a caviar farm in East
Recalling some of the background to this planning decision
which spilled over into a ruckus between the developer and the local MP the
Sussex Express article said - "Residents (had) reacted in in fury to the
application and expressed their objections through a campaign entitled - Wrong
Thing, Wrong Place."
|November 28, 2016|
sign - appears at gate of caviar farm site|
|Monday, November 28, 2016
the weekend a new sign appeared at the gate of the contentious caviar farm site
in Chiltington Lane - "for sale".
Indications are that offers
for the 6 acre site should be in the region over 100,000.
||click on the
above image to see the brochure|
For more details contact Simon Henkel at
the Haywards Heath office of the estate agents
Batcheller Monkhouse (tel
01444 453 181).
|January 20, 2017 |
that ends well|
|January 20, 2017 - Last weekend
we learned of a happy ending to the story of the "caviar farm" fields
in Chiltington Lane. |
The entire site has been bought by a
neighbouring family who were prominent campaigners against the development. And
these much argued over fields - which for over a decade had become
disconnected from anyone living here - will now retain their historic
character as pastureland.
Although this planning battle was fraught
and caused many sleepless nights for those who care about the countryside -
there have been good things which came out of it too.
We always felt
that this tranquil part of East Chiltington was a special place and the
heritage value of its natural rural character has now been revalidated and
confirmed by the formal planning process and the arguments associated with
it. This part of East Chiltington is now strongly protected against any
developments which threaten its traditional rural character.
brought people together in a common cause to meet and talk about how they could
protect the English countryside.
Chiltington Lane - which was always a
place where people would stop and chat while walking or riding or cycling (and
even driving) through (the latter by dint of stopping the car and winding down
the windows, putting on the hazard warning lights and taking as much time as
necessary to pass the time of day, because it might be another 20 minutes before
another car came along, and if they did they would understand) has become (who
would have believed it possible - before the caviar farm saga?) an even
We have a newly acquired confidence which comes
not only from sharing a lovely part of the English countryside but the
certain knowledge that if anyone should try to take it away or harm it in any
way then there will be a banding together of like minded staunch defenders
who by the combination of their many hidden talents and energies should not
Thanks again to everyone who helped us. (Including
one of our hearty band who sadly did not live to see that his cause had won.
Although we will always value the many things he taught us about fishing and
streams and ponds.)
2021 - Eton plans to concrete
over East Chiltington with new town
Wrong thing, wrong place? - image above
shows the front page of the Sussex
Express - Lewes edition - Friday, November 25, 2016 - with a story
reporting on Wednesday's council planning application meeting decision which
was confirmed officially today.
Caviar farm developer makes ungentlemanly comments about Lewes MP in
caviar farm row
reporting in the Argus (November 23, 2016)
|Caviar farming - lessons from Germany |
order to understand the caviar farm planning application at East Chiltington
LW/16/069 (and its predecessor LW/16/0180) we found many interesting articles
and papers on the web which were helpful. These articles were quoted in several
of the objection letters sent to the Lewes planning office in early September
2016 which discussed some of the risks of production and marketing, and the
ethical and licensing considerations which surround this type of venture.
fairy tale of the massaged sturgeon - this story appeared in the German
newspaper Taz - and discusses a pioneering no-kill caviar business which was
launched with much fanfare in 2014. What received less media coverage was what
happened to this German business afterwards.
Fish - this story appeared in the German newspaper Der Spiegel and discusses
the history of hormonal treatment of sturgeon to produce no-kill caviar which
resulted in a world wide patented process. In the original German caviar
business called Vivace - the hormonal treatement of the fish was originally
licensed under "animal testing" laws. The article says that "experts
deem this to be harmless for consumers."
Caviar farming -
lessons from Canada
a plan to sell New Brunswick caviar went so wrong - this story appeared in
the Canadian magazine Macleans.ca. It shows how even well funded caviar farms
with government grants have gone bust due to a variety of problems including:-
sickness in the fish, low cost competition from China and Europe, contaminated
groundwater, and complex regulations.
inexactly is Chiltington Lane?|
East Chiltington Parish
Council says No to Caviar Farm
LW/16/0695 - a rhyme of the Romans winterbourne
gets East Sussex Highways to remove local protest signs
Residents Meet to
Protest Caviar Farm Plan in Chiltington Lane, near Lewes
| In February 2021 the
residents of East Chiltington learned that Eton College had plans to destroy
their way of life by concreting over vast swathes of Sussex downland to
build an unasked for and entirely unnecessary new town. |
|No Eton New Town - say signs in the lanes|
May 10, 2021 - Signs are appearing in the lanes around East Chiltington to
grab the attention of visitors to warn that this countryside will be lost
if Eton College makes any progress with its new town plan. ...read the