Iford Shoot Appeal Hearing
The battle to protect the South Downs by local communities against the expansion of commercial shooting on the Downs near Lewes took another turn last month. Despite previous planning action by the local council, commercial shooting on the Downs near Lewes has continued over the last 10 years. Lewes District Council (on behalf of the SDNPA) issued an enforcement notice on 14 August 2018. This then generated an appeal which was heard by the government’s planning inspector at a hearing on 10 March 2020 in Lewes.
The game shooting organisation had legal counsel and a planning consultant present. The SDNPA case was put by the local Enforcement Officer from the Lewes District Council and a South Downs National Park Officer who put forward some points in favour of the enforcement case. The owners of Breaky Bottom Vineyard engaged a barrister who was a key figure in putting the alternative case to the inspector against the expansion of shooting beyond the 28 days legal limit. The Friends of the South Downs were represented by one of their local volunteer District Officers, Brian Davies, who spoke at the hearing giving evidence against the expansion of commercial shooting.
There are some concerns about the lack of fair and proper public notifications of the appeal hearing , the proximity of shooting activities to public rights of way, the noise of shooting disturbing the tranquillity of the Downs, the effect on the flora and fauna of the area, the use of the National Parks Whole Estate Plans in making out a case for shooting and the impact which such intensive activities have on the nearby villages and their residents.
Commercial Shooting activities at this location are at odds with a number of the policies of the South Downs National Park including: Landscape Tranquillity Policy (SD7), Landscape (SD4), Biodiversity (SD9) and Section 6B, – Enjoyment of the National Park and it’s policy SD23.
The decision by the Government’s Planning Inspector will be announced in the next couple of months.
The image above is approximate in the centre of this sketch map.