Precedent now set

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I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with Dr Blackburn (Letters, Observer, December 1). But this is only the beginning of the avalanche of planning applications to come.

It may take a few years but the precedent set by the infant South Downs National Park Authority will send shock waves down the whole National Parks System. Would the Lake District NPA, or the New Forest NPA allow this? Consider these points:

- Mrs Hamilton, CDC councillor, makes the point that the buildings are a heritage asset. Asset to whom? The prospective owners of these expensive apartments/houses will not want the general public tramping over their gardens, even if it is only ONCE a YEAR. She also states ‘it is a brownfield site’; this is not the case. Only some of the site is brownfield.

- The developers of the Syngenta site must be rubbing their hands with glee knowing a precedent has now been set. And think of all the others that could turn the SDNP into a great housing estate-for-all, as Mrs Hamilton says, ‘to look after heritage assets in the park’. Must we destroy the future to preserve the past?

- As Dr Blackburn says, why have a National Park ‘to enhance the environment’ if they just want to allow the building of hundreds of houses. Does the SDNPA not realise environment MEANS the flora and fauna of our land?

- The new ‘robust’ 106 agreement includes a ban on cats in the old sanatorium and on properties within 500 metres of the protected heathland nearby. What a joke! Who will police this? People will also bring dogs who will also disrupt the wildlife. Such rules will easily be circumvented.

I repeat Dr Blackburn’s statement: is there nothing that can be done to redress this act of extreme folly? I too would be ready to contribute to a fighting fund. The SDNPA was set up to ‘work with people... to help protect and enhance the landscape, wildlife and cultural history of the area’. They talk of protecting and enhancing the landscape – what, with 410 new housing units with obvious destruction of trees and therefore habitat? What an appalling miscalculation!

C I Chatfield

Midhurst