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the £ton versus East Chiltington chronicles

the march on Ditchling to say no to Eton's new town No Eton New Town

say new signs in East Chiltington, St John Without, Chailey, Cooksbridge, Plumpton, Ditchling, Lewes, Westmeston ...
no Eton New Town in East Chiltington
Monday, May 10, 2021

At the weekend signs began appearing in the lanes and hedges around East Chiltington to grab the attention of friends and visitors to these lanes 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.

Although I agreed with the sentiment of the protest sign placement here at the parish boundary heading towards ground zero at Etongrad - I felt I had to remove it after taking this picture. I received a training lesson from the Highways Agency about the correct way to place such signs 5 years ago in a way which makes them legal.
and here's another
No Eton New Town sign in East Chiltington May 2021
No Eton New Town - is the message

donturbanisethedowns.com - the sender

I've been hearing many different ways of saying the same thing (with different permutations of Say / No / Eton / New Town) since news that Eton wants to destroy East Chiltington first broke into public awareness 3 months ago.

I think the poster is an excellent design. And I love the idea that I'll soon be seeing it everywhere. (Furthest I've seen so far - was over towards Ditchling.)

PS - later - I will include a link so you can make your own - in case you haven't got one yet.

And below is the eastern main entrance to Etongrad - at the East Chiltington end - where North Barnes Lane meets Novington Lane. The western end of North Barnes Lane is at Station Road in Plumpton - which would merge into the Eton disturbation if the Nolands Farm development were to go ahead.
Entrance to North Barnes Lane site of proposed Eton new town at the East Chiltington end in Novington Lane May 2021

Pinchers Hill Novington Lane East Chiltington
more signs in Novington Lane
above - turn right ahead to Highbridge Lane
below - turn right at the bend to enter North Barnes Lane
Novington Lane says no Eton new town  - May 2021
one of hundreds of posters against the Eton new town plan
just some of the hundreds of posters against the Eton plan
no Eton town with South Downs in the background East Chiltington

click to see origianl on the goup facebook page
image above - © Steve Chailey from his Facebook posts re signs

image below © Charlotte Boulton from her Highbridge Lane photoshoot - which was used in the Sussex Express story - Signs opposing plans for 3,000 new homes on Eton College-owned land spring up in East Chiltington
cyclists in Highbridge Lane have asked about the Eton new town signs
see also:- cycling in Chiltington Lane
more about cyclists

May 18, 2021 - I heard from the DUTD group yesterday that they have been seeing contributions to their (public) crowd funding pot from cyclists who have seen these signs, looked up what it's about and decided to donate money to help the campaign. Thanks.

A few years ago I attended some delightful meetings with neighbours to discuss whether we could designate Chiltington Lane a quiet lane. The speed limit on this single track lane is 60mph. We came to the conclusion that nothing could be done under the present rules as we didn't have enough houses along on the road (a lot less than 20 houses on the road in one mile). And Novington Lane is lower than us.

But I remember we talked about the fact that - if legislation changed - in future we should reach out more to cyclists - as there were more of them than us (living here, walking or riding on horses) and we all have the same interest in wanting to feel safe while being in a quiet narrow lane with pretty views.

I had discovered in 2016 from reading objection letters - that even though we didn't know them personally - some cyclists and their clubs had helped us to defeat past developer plans which had threatened to destroy the quiet of these lanes. That's the kindness of strangers you never forget.

When the time comes, see also:- Dear XXX [insert] Lewes planning person
Chapel Lane East Chiltington - donturbanisethedowns poster

above - can you guess where this is?
clue:- a short splash from a jolly...
print your own sign - no Eton new town sign

can't wait for a sign? - print your own
download the pdf

below - Mill Lane, South Chailey by the School - which will become a car park for the new town residents during peak traffic - and a race track for traffic heading to Lewes
Mill Lane South Chailey says no to Eton new town

below - I saw this one on the way to the GP. It's another 2 signs for the price of 1. Zoom in to see what's on offer.
no Eton new town sign in Chailey

no Eton new town sign in Hollycroft East Chiltington
above - Hollycroft. This is just the many signs I saw here - and my phone battery was already low before I started. I had several interesting conversations on this walk which I will write about later. If you walk anywhere in East Chiltington the journey can take hours - even if the distance is merely hundreds of yards. That's not a new thing caused by the Etongreed plan - it's been like that for the 14 years I've lived here.
in Westmeston - poster says don't urbanise the Downs - click to zoom

click to expand / flip the view
Sunday - July 18, 2021 - I took the scenic route back home through Ditchling, past the primary school where my sister's kids went long ago. Saw several signs in lovely locations but couldn't safely stop. Then I drove past this one (above) in Westmeston. Stopped as soon as I could and walked back. Had an enjoyable chat with sign's neighbour about what's the best way to get a bike up the slopes.

I often used to walk across the top. But walking up steep slopes carrying a picnic is troublesome enough enough - the idea of dragging a bike through tangles is daunting so I haven't tried it yet. I was given good advice about tracks.

I don't know about you - but when I see these signs I think - that's someone who really cares about our future. Someone you can easily talk to.
Whitehouse Farm Plumpton - sign says no Eton new town
above - 2 signs in Station Rd, Plumpton - one saying White House Farm - the other saying No Eton New Town. This house backs onto another speculative development along North Barnes Lane - the Nolands Farm application by land promoter Fairfax (April 2021) - which was met by over 600 local objections. The entrance to that "new community" site (89 houses to begin with) would involve demolishing 2 houses very close to this spot. A decision hadn't yet been made when I took this photo on July 23, 2021 - day of the DUTD's first public exhibition.

wrapping up this protest sign blog

When I started taking photos of these signs and sharing them in this article in early May 2021 - I knew I was only recording a small percentage of the hundreds which were produced, assembled and sited in the first volunteer wave. A limiting factor at the time was getting enough stakes - because of the logistics legacy of UK Covid Lockdown #3.

These protest signs were an early key part of a multi-dimensional public statement signalling that residents in and around East Chiltington were opposed to the Eton new town plan. The other dimensions being membership of protest groups, messaging and informative PR.

As the protest poster numbers headed past the first thousand - colour became a new ingredient. And the design changed subtly.

I'll be writing more about that in my series - planning protest artwork in East Chiltington 2016 to 2021.

The Don't Urbanise the Downs artworks are #4 in that series BTW.

I have delayed writing it - because I knew that the new colour posters were being designed and I wanted to make sure that I could get all the core DUTD designs properly represented in that article in their historic contexts.

Thanks for reading this article.

It's not the zingiest or the stingiest in the Eton versus East Chiltington Chronicles - but I hope that in future years - when we've finally won this anti-concrETON war - people will look back and say - look! - that's the lane where I live in that old article. Things haven't changed much have they? (Except that tree's grown bigger.)

Any questions?

My name is Zsolt Kerekes.


PS - did you know - that the Don't Urbanise the Downs logo - which appeared on their website in March 2021 - and which you see in variations in the protest signs in this article - is artwork #4 - in my history commentary series - planning protest artwork in East Chiltington 2016 to 2021 - which discusses these artworks, the campaigns and the artists.

The protest artwork count - including the picture burning by Grant Dejonge on July 29, 2021 - is now upto #8.

(#9 is expected to be a video.)

Here's one of those other East Chiltington anti new town protest artworks from that series (by different artists) below.
South Downs Eton by Dog - wrongthingwrongplace.com

rhyme of a crazy dog Eton

No Eton New Town in East Chiltington

above - 2 signs in Novington Lane. Zoom in if you don't trust my tally. These were among the first signs in the ground I saw on May 8th - but I thought I'd come back on a sunnier day to take this picture.

Here in this view it would be Eton to the right of them, Eton to the left of them, Eton in front of them. And Eton behind, Volleyed and thundered... You know how this goes... Truthfully we're well short of 600 in East Chiltington (we few residents) but we have that spirit and will not be deterred by the sulphurous fumes of Eton Welbeck's canon.

It still works then - I thought. That's good.

It was lunchtime, Thursday, May 13, 2021 - I had noticed a cyclist in Chiltington Lane stop and dismount his bike to stand in front of and stare at one of the many protest signs in Chiltington Lane. He looked at the sign and started looking things up on his mobile phone.

Later - a delivery van driver dropping off some packages said - what are all the signs about? We spent the next couple of minutes talking about it.

Flashback - 5 years

August 29, 2016 - The webstats on the protest group website wrongththingwrongplace.com had gone crazy. We had only put out the signs the week before and we knew everyone in the Chiltington Caviar Farm Action Group personally.

What's going on?

Incoming referals from Facebook and Twitter. We don't even have that many people in our group!

My neighbour John A was right. He was the one who had suggested that when round #2 of the planning application appeared (the first iteration having been withdrawn due to the weight of objections) we should place signs along the roads to show that everyone was against it.

I was skeptical. As a web publisher for 20 years at that time - I was very dubious about wooden signs.

Janet D. (described in a later Argus article as "one of the masterminds of the wrong thing, wrong place campaign") said - OK let's do both.

In the quiet lull after the first application had been withdrawn (we didn't have signs or a website then) a group was set up to design posters with a stark black and white design and a simple to remember web address to support the campaign. When that planning application came back for round #2 - we launched the web site and placed the signs ASAP.

The web stats showed - without any doubt - that people driving and cycling through the lanes did engage with the signs. And remembered what they'd seen. And that followed through later with external offers of support and it delivered real objections too.

Flash forwards - 5 years - to the present day.

A new problem. A new group. The same community spirit.

Etongrad, Eton Mess, North Barnes Farm Development, Eton New Town, Great Blighton - whatever you call it is orders of magnitude worse in its potential environmental impact than the 2016 caviar farm.

The cyclist I saw today - suggests that the campaign group donturbanisethedowns.com will get some serious leverage from these simple proven tools of community engagement.

Well done to all involved in making this happen. You know who you are and we don't want the developers to know till after it's won.

The ground in some places is like concrete as many of you can testify. If in doubt use a metal spike to get started and just bash harder is the only advice I can give.

Disclosure. I'm not officially part of any protest group against the Eton new town development in East Chiltington. I just live here and feel that Eton College should be ashamed that they still wear the mantle of being a charitable organization at the same time that they agressively initiate and pursue such harmful acts.
below - 2 signs for the price of 1 - in Chapel Lane
2 signs in Chapel Lane - eggs and don't urbanise the downs

Eton vs East Chiltington sign in East Chiltington

above - Chiltington Lane, below - Beechwood Lane
no eton new town poster St John Without

....below - the Forge in Highbridge Lane
the industrial furnace of East Chiltington
and maker of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
had its own planning posters back in 2017
the Forge - industrial heartland of East Chiltington says no new town

Neighbour without a sign? - May 17, 2021
Not everyone who lives in East Chiltington is an ardent fan of these signs.

I was walking past a neighbour's house in Novington Lane at the weekend and was surprised to see no sign.

Have you run out? - I asked someone in the protest group, later.

Yes - but "Neighbour without a sign" was offered one before that happened. He thinks the signs are bland and far too small. He's designing one that's going to make a much bigger statement.

I look forward to seeing it. Sounds like it might be visible from space (maybe) or the the South Downs (for sure).

I thought the idea of donturbanisethedowns etc was to stop things being built that could disharmonise the view from the protected havens of the high elves. I mean the fortunate inhabitants of the National Park - who are protected by their magic rings. Can we borrow one please? - for those of us living on the other side of the railway track. ...more

say no to Eton's  new town sign in East Chiltingtom

Can you name the lanes in these pictures which don't have any captions?
protest sign in Chiltington Lane

What's Silent Spring got to do with Eton-Welbeck's new town plan for East Chiltington?
Final Spring in Novington Lane?
silent spring and concrETON image wrongthingwrongplacedotcom

East Chiltington says no Eton new town

above - Chiltington Lane

below - Highbridge Lane on the way to the Forge. On the right hand side of this lane is part of the huge Eton site. (It's the sunflower field of 2020 - and the setting for a pheonix artwork by artists Grant Dejonge in 2021.) The Eton site is also on the left of this view - immediately behind all the houses.
Highbridge Lane says no to Eton new town

Chiltington Lane meets Highbridge Lane  to say no to Eton new town

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

below - Mill Lane, South Chailey
Mill Lane Chailey - says No Eton New Town

signs to left and right Chiltington Lane

above - I planted the hedge on the left to match the one on the right
the little laurels came as twiglets in the post
luckily I'm not the one who has to trim them

below - this was one of the first to go up in Chiltington Lane

say no to Eton new town  sign   St John Without

ft article with no Eton new town poster in Chapel Lane
An article in the FT - Battles loom as housing developers eye rural England (June 25, 2021) featured in one of its photos a Don't Urbanise The Downs poster staged in Chapel Lane, East Chiltington by the library.

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

no Etin new town sign in Plumpton at the DUTD's public exhibition
8 weeks after the first black and white signs were entrenched in their pretty perches - we saw the arrival of colour.

A key feature of the new design is the secret recipe of the ink - a special formulation which converts incoming solar rays into outgoing deterrent rays which are specially tuned to the auras of land promoters. These reflected beams are invisible to the naked eye but prolonged exposure is predicted by simulation models to break down ecology harming auras into harmless breathable air

The small print.
  • Use care when hammering sharp stakes.
  • Coloured protest signs are provided as decorative items and must not be resold as actual totem medecines.
  • Claims that harmful land gain auras can be broken down due to coloured signs have not yet been substantiated by recognised medical trials.
  • No rats or plants or other beings were involved in the lab experiments which helped to populate the simulation models.