The Eastbourne Downland Estate extends to approximately 4,174 acres, of which 2,963 acres is mainly farmed (the Council leases four farms and a smallholding) and 1,211 acres is open access land; it lies at the easternmost end of the South Downs National Park.
The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is seeking to collaborate with landowners across the National Park in the development of Whole Estate Plans (WEPs), a non-statutory plan that seeks to protect the Park and demonstrate the aspirations of its landowners. The Whole Estates Plan process seeks to assist SDNPA and large estate organisations to work together in delivery of this vision.
In line with SDNPA guidance for production of WEPs, there are four main sections of the plan:
- Vision: this was agreed by Cabinet in June 2019;
- Asset Audit : this audit establishes a complete picture of all of the assets on the Downland;
- Ecosystem Service Analysis: this includes a SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of the many eco systems on the Estate which provide life’s essentials such as clean air and water, food, fuel and raw materials and opportunities for improved health and wellbeing.
- Action Plan: this takes the opportunities and threats identified in the Ecosystem Services Analysis and identifies the actions required and the specific projects attached to achieving those actions.
In July 2020, following extensive consultation with residents and stakeholders across the south east, the Council adopted the WEP and agreed a list of priority projects. The SDNPA formally endorsed the plan in September 2020.
Eastbourne’s Whole Estate Plan is designed to be a ‘live’ document and will be responsive to changes in national policy and Council priorities over its 25-year lifespan.