January 5, 2018

News on Locked gate in Ovingdean field



From: Philip Graves <graves@gravesjenkins.com>
Date: Wednesday, 3 January 2018 at 15:22
Subject: Ovingdean Residents & The Farmer

Dear all,

I write in no official capacity (apart from being Chairman of OHFRA), but more as a resident and dog walker!

Many residents will have noticed that the farmer has recently padlocked the gate at the point on the attached plan and there has been an adverse reaction from many, including myself. There is much talk about ‘established Rights of Way’, whether development has been planned and some direct action been taken, but rather than adopting a scattered and ad-hoc approach, I thought I would make contact with the Managing Agents of the farm, Savills, who act on behalf of Brighton & Hove City Council. I deal with them on a professional level through my work and they have ably assisted when dealing with previous neighbourhood matters.

The truth of the matter is that the farmer is protecting his margins and by doing so, obtains financial relief from Natural England – in particular, the hedgerow and the wildlife is being protected at the same time. I questioned whether this could still be the case and by arrangement we could either establish a formal Right of Way or a permissive Right of Way with the tenant farmer. This could therefore mean the gate, if required, can be locked by the farmer, but a pedestrian gate could be installed adjacent to allow walkers and horse riders easy access and enable a thoroughfare to link up with the other Bridleways.

Savills feel the approach is a sensible one and they have arranged a meeting with the Rights of Way officer on 18th January to discuss the issues and proposals. I am hopeful.

It is a shame the farmer could not have communicated his actions and reasons far better so that relationships could have been protected and improved, but that has been his choice. If needs be, I am happy for this note to reach him so that he can comment accordingly, which would be refreshing and very much keep to the community spirit for which Ovingdean is hopefully known for.

Could this email be networked throughout the village so that everyone can be updated (neighbours and other Associations) and let us hope everything can be amicably resolved in the short term.

Happy New Year to all.



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