The ArgusCalls for Rottingdean golf course to become nature reserve (From The Argus)

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Calls for Rottingdean golf course to become nature reserve

The Argus: Beacon Hill Beacon Hill

Conservationists want to convert a disused Rottingdean golf hut for a different type of birdie.

The Friends of Beacon Hill want to create a wildlife centre to help maintain the Beacon Hill Nature Reserve between Rottingdean and Ovingdean.

They are looking to expand the nature reserve, which sits within the South Downs National Park, by including a former 18 hole pitch and putt golf course which fell out of use two years ago.

The plans have received the backing of naturalist and BBC broadcaster Chris Packham as well as a University of Sussex professor and the Marine Conservation Society.


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Mr Packham said: “The Downs are a great repository of unique life, a beautiful landscape and a treasure trove of history and culture.

“Developing an educational focus point for Brighton’s populace to better enable them to engage with this fabulous and valuable part of the world is quite simply a fantastic and irresistible idea.”

The friends are in talks with landowners Brighton and Hove City Council to extend the nature reserve into the former golf course and use the kiosk to create the Beacon Hub Brighton, which will become a centre of discussion on conservation of the natural world and local heritage.

It is hoped the centre will help to preserve the number of breeding skylarks at the site for future generations.

The planned centre would provide permanent exhibitions on local flora and fauna, space for local artists and crafts people to display their work, a classroom for visiting parties of school children and a meeting place.

With additional funding it is hoped that the space could be expanded to accommodate larger visiting groups, a small cafe and a children's eco play area.

Libby Darling, chairwoman of Friends of Beacon Hill, said: “As a gateway to the South Downs, the hub will be a brilliant opportunity for city dwellers of all ages to engage with and learn about the wildlife and habitat of chalk downland, the cliffs, which are a site of special scientific interest, and the intertidal zone of local beaches.”

The Argus: That's Good News

Dave Goulson, professor of biology at the University of Sussex, said: “In the 20th Century Britain lost 98 % of its flower-rich grasslands to agriculture.

“Beacon Hill Nature Reserve is one of the remaining fragments, but it is very small and so it is unlikely to support viable populations of many rare plants and animals in the long term.

“Extending the area is a vital step towards ensuring the future of the many beautiful and fascinating creatures that live on chalk grasslands.”

Comments (4)

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8:51am Thu 30 Jan 14

RottingdeanRant says...

I live in Rottingdean and do not support this. I hope that the Parish Council gets involved before " Friends of Beacon Hill” - whoever they are - get their way. We already have a ’nature reserve’ on the hill (this means some grass that only gets cut infrequently) and it is a very pleasant spot as long as you can avoid all of the dog poo. Far better to get the pitch and putt and the cafe operating again or some other useful centre - even a Segway park!
I live in Rottingdean and do not support this. I hope that the Parish Council gets involved before " Friends of Beacon Hill” - whoever they are - get their way. We already have a ’nature reserve’ on the hill (this means some grass that only gets cut infrequently) and it is a very pleasant spot as long as you can avoid all of the dog poo. Far better to get the pitch and putt and the cafe operating again or some other useful centre - even a Segway park! RottingdeanRant
  • Score: -1

10:24am Thu 30 Jan 14

jillyb1 says...

This is a wonderful idea , ( apologies RottingdeanRant ) , it's a beautiful area and should be preserved . Please make it wheelchair friendly so we can all enjoy it .
This is a wonderful idea , ( apologies RottingdeanRant ) , it's a beautiful area and should be preserved . Please make it wheelchair friendly so we can all enjoy it . jillyb1
  • Score: 5

1:06pm Thu 30 Jan 14

RottingdeanRant says...

jillyb1 wrote:
This is a wonderful idea , ( apologies RottingdeanRant ) , it's a beautiful area and should be preserved . Please make it wheelchair friendly so we can all enjoy it .
There is already plenty of land for people to enjoy. Rottingdean needs something else to attract people rather than just some more grass - there lots of that surrounding us on the downs.
[quote][p][bold]jillyb1[/bold] wrote: This is a wonderful idea , ( apologies RottingdeanRant ) , it's a beautiful area and should be preserved . Please make it wheelchair friendly so we can all enjoy it .[/p][/quote]There is already plenty of land for people to enjoy. Rottingdean needs something else to attract people rather than just some more grass - there lots of that surrounding us on the downs. RottingdeanRant
  • Score: 2

10:00am Fri 31 Jan 14

Ovingdean Green says...

Just some more grass? Actually,193 plant species including 70% of species
which comprise the European priority CG2a designated list. The 'grass' is home to some 28 species of Butterfly. Countless species of moths - there are 2400 species in the British Isles. 80 species of birds including the Skylark, ‘Red Status’ by the RSPB, which means that its breeding population has declined nationally over 50% in the last 20 years. On Beacon Hill, we have a relatively healthy population of resident Skylarks, 5 - 7 pairs bred successfully in 2013. That's not to mention countless insects including declining bees (without which it would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion a year to pollinate our crops ), mammals and reptiles!
There are many good reasons to integrate the pitch & putt golf course
into the nature reserve and allow redevelopment of the ‘kiosk’ - not least of which, to help preserve the Sylark amongst the many other resident species of fauna and flora, for future generations and to provide the facility to educate those future generations of the importance of doing so.
Perhaps Mr Rant can justify golf (or some other leisure activity which might be conducted for commercial gain on the golf course land for a minority) as important to the survival of the human race?
It is not the intention to create some ‘Eco Disney World’, but rather to establish a modest facility staffed by volunteers to compliment the local heritage assets, for the benefit of locals and city dwellers and children in particular. As an added bonus, local traders in Rottingdean will benefit from an increase in footfall.
And yes, Jillyb, the facility will of course include weelchair ramps and disabled toilets.
Just some more grass? Actually,193 plant species including 70% of species which comprise the European priority CG2a designated list. The 'grass' is home to some 28 species of Butterfly. Countless species of moths - there are 2400 species in the British Isles. 80 species of birds including the Skylark, ‘Red Status’ by the RSPB, which means that its breeding population has declined nationally over 50% in the last 20 years. On Beacon Hill, we have a relatively healthy population of resident Skylarks, 5 - 7 pairs bred successfully in 2013. That's not to mention countless insects including declining bees (without which it would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion a year to pollinate our crops ), mammals and reptiles! There are many good reasons to integrate the pitch & putt golf course into the nature reserve and allow redevelopment of the ‘kiosk’ - not least of which, to help preserve the Sylark amongst the many other resident species of fauna and flora, for future generations and to provide the facility to educate those future generations of the importance of doing so. Perhaps Mr Rant can justify golf (or some other leisure activity which might be conducted for commercial gain on the golf course land for a minority) as important to the survival of the human race? It is not the intention to create some ‘Eco Disney World’, but rather to establish a modest facility staffed by volunteers to compliment the local heritage assets, for the benefit of locals and city dwellers and children in particular. As an added bonus, local traders in Rottingdean will benefit from an increase in footfall. And yes, Jillyb, the facility will of course include weelchair ramps and disabled toilets. Ovingdean Green
  • Score: 1

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