Downlanders celebrate roaming victory after six-year campaign

Campaigners gathered in protest against the sale of land near Cissbury Ring in 2009. Six years later, they won the right to roam SUS-160125-141348001

Campaigners gathered in protest against the sale of land near Cissbury Ring in 2009. Six years later, they won the right to roam SUS-160125-141348001

0
Have your say

COUNTRYSIDE campaigners are celebrating a victory for ‘people power’ after gaining freedom to roam over land previously earmarked for sale.

Around 157 acres of land near Cissbury Ring, at Mount Carvey and Tenants Hill, has been declared ‘open access’, following a lengthy campaign by Worthing Downlanders and conservation groups.

The news, announced this week, comes six years after the ‘Stop the Cissbury Sell-Off’ campaign, which saw hundreds rally against a Worthing Borough Council proposal to dispose of the land.

A statement released by Worthing Downlanders read: “This is a great result for ‘people power’ and means that we will have the ‘right to roam’ in perpetuity.

“It is also a good result for Worthing Borough Council as it has helped provide an area on the Downs that everyone can now enjoy.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the campaign, the council and all the other working group members.”

The council’s decision to sell the land was abandoned after pressure from campaigners, with the sell-off group later becoming today’s Downlanders group.

Following the abandonment of the sale, a working group was set up, which included the Downlanders, Worthing Borough Council, Natural England, the National Trust and South Downs Park.

The group worked on a strategy to allow open access, while balancing the freedom with active use of the land for grazing. Another concern was appropriate conservation.