Chiltington Lane
Editor:- July 18, 2021 - I interrupt this article to say...

I haven't seen a planning commitee date yet for the Fairfax application at Nolands Farm in Plumpton. Looking at 615 objections may be what delayed it.

LDC launched its local plan consultation recently. I discuss the problems this creates for residents in my home page article - Do you want new towns? just tell us where - says Lewes District Council

And finally... sometimes the people you write letters to - write back. See my story about Lewes MP - Maria Caulfield and what she wrote last month to residents of East Chiltington about the Eton new town project.

Dear XXX [insert] Lewes planning person

Hello residents and friends of East Chiltington - is right now really the best time for YOU to write THAT letter about Eton's destructive new town?

letter writinglet's pause and think how best to hurt these plans

Zsolt Kerekes - Chiltington Lane, March 31, 2021

Did you get the email?

If you were on the list and got that request in recent days from the campaign group - to start letter writing about the Eton new town plan in East Chiltington - then I'm asking you to pause and ask yourself - is this the best time? Maybe there's something else you can do instead - which could have more effect.

We all feel angry. We all feel shocked that something so horrible might happen here. But we've only got so many bullets and limited time and energy. Let's make it count to the max.

In some ways it feels like deja vu. 5 years ago smart people in our community were investigating behind the scenes facts to get us prepared and then we were all writing letters about the despoiling plans of those days - the disgraceful Hollycroft Fields development (which became the village green) and the odd case of the Caviar Farm in Chiltington Lane - both of which our community decisively won.

As East Chiltingtons we're good at this letter writing stuff.

letter writing - Jane Austen - goblinsearch.comThe letters are out there in the public domain in the archives of the planning department to prove it. And those plans were squashed despite the planning department being on the wrong side of the residents' interests at the outset. With Hollycroft it was Lewes District Council which owned the land. With the Caviar Farm - the planners didn't understand the technology and they clung to the illusion that this was another agricultural scheme - so they were anti-resident from day #1

What made things worse in the anti-Caviar campaigns was that the planning department kept losing our objecting letters and emails.We had to count the objections known to be going out from our neighbours and friends and compare them to the objections which were officially logged on the LDC site. LDC made many disappear. Sometimes through technical incompetence and in one occasion by crass censorship when 2 residents in the same household had names with the same initials and one of their letters were removed.

It's important to make every letter count.

Let's take a pause - because we're all fired up about the Eton-Welbeck's plans to destroy East Chiltington. I compared it to the disgraceful use of DDT and pesticides in a recent blog - Final Spring in Novington Lane? (That was the polite version.)

Why do we feel compelled to write planning letters?

1 - makes us feel good - getting these words out of our systems stops them churning around in our heads and going nuts. Even if you just write them and never send them - like that email to your boss (which would get you fired) or that text to those annoying builders (who have made such a mess - but you still need them to come back and finish the jobs they started - please). Relationship troubles... And as a private memory for yourself. So in years to come when you've survived the current crises - you can remind yourself what a shitty time you went through.

2 - voice your concerns, make a difference This is what the campaign group's letter campaign is asking you to do. You want to take part to show you care. The lesson from past campaigns is that these letters DO have a profound effect at changing what happens.

But I think that now is the wrong time to write to the planners.

That's because your letters will be wasted. LDC doesn't have an official plan process opened yet which can cope with what you send them and capture them in a way which can be leveraged to beat the new town.

The letters will disappear from the public record.

If there are lot of letters - as in hundreds - it will piss the planners off - because they have other live cases they're working on. This part of the planning system is not yet able to deal effectively with the letters you write.

And another thing is letter writing fatigue. Let's say you write this letter. You've missed hours of being out in the sun after a year of being cooped up. The next time you get an email urging you to write (it's the right time - the plan is up on the LDC website) you might say - I did my bit already and nothing changed - this time it's someone else's turn.

Someone else to write to?- better targets? - elections...

I'm not saying - don't write letters. Just that the local planning officers are not best placed to act on your letters right now,

How about this as an alternative?

There are county council elections coming up in May.

Why not write to those standing for election and ask them to say publicly what they think about the Eton plans?

The list of candidates is still open for nominations till April 8th. So you might have to wait till then. You can find your current councillor by postcode using this page. (For East Chiltington the Council area is Chailey.)

Update:- the list of candidates has been published here

That way - whoever wins (because they'll all say they support the residents) will have said it in the public record. These statements of political support for East Chiltington's residents and friends will be a resource which can be quoted and reused in future campaign communications.

Whatever you decide to do - good luck with it. It's not for me or anyone to tell you what to do. It's a democracy - we can all decide for ourselves. I just hate the idea that any of your magic letter writing bullets being wasted.

We're fighting a common enemy and will weaponise our talents in many different ways. Hard times ahead - who knows when we'll win? Could be this year, next, or 5 years ahead. So for now - enjoy the sun. Enjoy the walks. And sorry if I took up so much of your time.

Lastly... if you've got this far and you're still wondering what all that was about. What email? It's a private communication. I'm not going to repeat any of it here.

If you want to see it for yourself - just go to - sign up and tick the right boxes - wanna write a letter.


Where inexactly is Chiltington Lane?

Other web sites which talk about Chiltington Lane

Final Spring in Novington Lane? - Eton's new town zone

Prickly neighbours you're likely to meet on a dark night in the lane

Have you read about the Saxon gold buried in nearby Underhill Lane?