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Messy tree removal - Raceourse motor roads

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On Sun 17 Feb at 3:25pm Stephen Watson wrote:
Contractors have been removing trees and generally making a mess of the strip of land between the Motor Road and the path that runs alongside it. This land belongs to Lewes Racecourse, and is not part of the Town Council owned Landport Bottom nature reserve, and the reason that they have given for the work is that the trees, by shading the road, were making it icy. If all they wanted was to let in some sunlight on the road, it's hard to see why they should have needed to make quite such a mess, or bring in heavy equipment. The native trees that have gone (mainly hawthorn) provided a welcome windbreak to sheep and walkers on Landport Bottom and food, cover and nesting sites for birds. Underneath were wild flowers including masses of sweet violets that were in bloom as they were grubbed up, also white comfrey and harts- tongue ferns. Some of the roots and seeds may be there but the soil has been heavily churned which is more likely to encourage ragwort (which the same is dangerous to horses). I can only hope that the area will recover in time, if it's allowed to.
If you would like to discuss this and other matters relating to Landport Bottom, the next meeting of Friends of Landport Bottom is on Monday 11th March, 7.30-9pm at St. Mary's Church Hall, Highdown Road, Lewes. Everyone is welcome.
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On Sun 17 Feb at 4:36pm Hag wrote:
Look at the Lewes Racecourse thread for details of who to write to about this disgusting act of habitat destruction. It would seem that anyone with a digger can do what he wants in a national park, squash a few stoats, make the finches homeless, make more money building houses, whilst pretending they're an equestrian facility, whilst the greasy palmed planners turn a blind eye.
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On Sun 17 Feb at 5:08pm Local99 wrote:
My word. Building houses on a wide bit of verge? You have an extraordinary imagination.
Alternatively, you have no idea what this thread is about, but have gone off on one of your standard rants regardless.
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On Sun 17 Feb at 6:30pm Hag wrote:
There are no standard rants, my first post. You don't need imagination to notice how little land is needed to build a house? and that is what the landowner has said he could do, as it is his land, he thinks he can do whatever he likes, and I have no faith that anyone would stop him, judging by what he has already got away with, and what has been allowed already in this town. You
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On Sun 17 Feb at 8:54pm Local99 wrote:
Perhaps you don't have a history of ranting on here, but I bet you do somewhere / somehow / sometime.
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On Mon 18 Feb at 12:20pm Hamid Barr wrote:
An unnecessary act of wanton vandalism with no regard for the wild life we are constantly exhorted to help preserve.
Disgraceful.
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On Mon 18 Feb at 10:58pm local2 wrote:
Compared to most places, very little has been built in this town for many years. Thatís soon to change with all the developments going on though
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On Tue 19 Feb at 9:01am bored2 wrote:
Option A: Drive more carefully, install icy road warning sign. Do not destroy wildlife.
Option B: Plow a load of wildlife into dust
What an utter d!ck
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On Wed 20 Feb at 4:20pm Patrick Eraut wrote:
Hello,
I am a Director of Lewes Old Race Course Management Company which is a limited company operated on a non profit basis to manage the road and the water supply on behalf of those who own property at the Race Course. I thought it might be helpful to put our point of view as the people who commissioned and paid for the work discussed here. The directors had two motivations in doing so:
1. Visibility and public safety. The sharp blind corner has been the site of near misses. We regularly encounter mountain bikers and skateboarders travelling at speed around the bend who only become visible at the last moment, and the risk of a potentially fatal accident seems to the directors of the LORCMC to be considerable. It is a private road, so others should not be using it, (though they are welcome to use the footpath a few metres to the side of the road which we pay to clear and maintain) be they cars, horse riders, mountain bikers or pedestrians but in practice they do. Previously they were not visible around the bend but now they are visible and so the road is much safer. You might like to note that the signed footpath crosses the road a few metres below the crown of the bend so there was a considerable risk to dog walkers and other pedestrians crossing at that point.
2. Access and safety in Winter. The photos, taken during the recent cold snap show the difference between the part of the road where the scrub had been removed and the part where it had not, prior to the recent completion. As a private road the council has no responsibility to grit and it was previously in total shade throughout the day resulting in a road that was dangerous for days after the public roads become clear and passable. A number of elderly people and families with young children live here and the only vehicular access is via the road so we need to keep it open and safe at all times or as close to it as we can. This simply has not been possible in Winter prior to this work. When iced over the road becomes impassable to normal vehicles. So much so that I personally bought a 4 wheel drive vehicle solely for this reason, though this still slides on the ice.
The management company owns the land not John Ffitch-Heyes, whose wife is one of the directors of the management company but one of three who voted unanimously to have the work done. There are no plans or desires to build on the land which we intend to return to grassland and are clearing up at present. Worthwhile trees have been left when the scrub was cleared. We just want to be able to get safely too and from our homes. I hope that other Lewesians will understand the need for this work and support the return of this land to its previous state.

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On Wed 20 Feb at 4:25pm Patrick Eraut wrote:
Here is the bend before the work was done on the same day as the photo above.

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On Wed 20 Feb at 5:24pm SHS wrote:
@Patrick Eraut top marks for posting those rational reasons for what was done and is proposed. Personally I would side with the views of @Stephen Watson. Not enough priority is put on keeping what we have - or rather what nature has built over decades. Is our priority to avoid any risk, no matter how slight, and to avoid any possible inconvenience on the rare occasions we have freezing weather? How much weight do we give to trees, plants, wildlife and insects? And our views? A sledgehammer to crack a nut here.
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On Wed 20 Feb at 6:58pm Patrick Eraut wrote:
Thanks for your comments SHS. It is possible to disagree and discuss without rancour or abuse, in fact it's a key building block for a civil society. It's a good thing in this case because I should like to seek to persuade you further. It's a mile from the houses here to the nearest primary school further to the other Lewes schools. On snowy days and there have been many in my 10 years here you either need to travel dangerously by 4 wheel drive if you have access to one or you cannot access the outside world. i.e. no school, no medical care, emergency or otherwise, no shopping, no repairs if your heating breaks down or your phone line, no access for people that work here. The ice melting on the road happens usually in one day if the sun shines on the road but several days when it is in shadow as it was before this work to clear the scrub. Is this something you would accept where you live? Don't take my word for it, try and get a normal car up the road the next time we have snow and ice first thing in the morning.
The risks are not trivial of accidents, or were not before the work. The corner is very unsighted. Walk down the road to the footpath sign from the top. Imagine the exposed area was overgrown. See the picture above. Many people are using the road not all appropriately or responsibly and the owners LORC Management Co. have no effective means to police this. The risks of a collision on the bend are sufficiently great to cause a group of hopefully rational people to spend significant funds to improve the situation. Note that all the directors own or have owned their own businesses, so this is not a risk adverse group!
All the best.
Patrick
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On Wed 20 Feb at 11:24pm Local99 wrote:
What with the lethal road, and the obvious need to relocate the bridle path away from the houses to deter terrible nosey walkers from upsetting the residents, it makes one wonder why on earth anyone risks living in such a god-forsaken place?
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On Sun 24 Feb at 1:40pm Hag wrote:
If all their actions are so justified, why did they decline to co-operate and take advice from SDNP or the rangers when it was offered, or have an Environmental Impact Assessment of the land before commencing the destruction. If people choose to live in an isolated place, they should know the year round issues with access, why should stoats, adders and lizards, pay the price?
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On Mon 25 Feb at 9:01am numberjack wrote:
So, Mr Eraut claims that the scrub clearance is predominantly to increase visibility & stop ice on the road? If this is the case, what is the excuse for ripping out loads of scrub at the other end of the gallops near the top of spittle road / rear of prison. There are no roads to be dangerous and icy there!
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On Thu 28 Feb at 8:15am grivelvis wrote:
Bats are a well-protected species and it is an offence to change or remove bat's foraging areas. Bats used to feed in the hedgerows along the road up to the old racecourse. Most of that habitat has now been destroyed.
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On Sun 3 Mar at 8:22am LynWonder wrote:
Sounds like a lot of townies playing at being country folk, or may be just boys wanting to play with some toys and get a big digger. The arguments Mr Eraut puts forward for this vandalism are spurious to say the least.
There are only a few houses at the top of the road so vehicle movemets are at a minimum and the chances of two cars meeting at that point are very small. Even so, as the residents know that is a sharp bend and there is a path crossing at the top, we would assume they would take care rounding the bend. There are speed bumbs on the road people and other people who use the road, or pedestrians who cross it, do take care - as they would on any other country road. Perhaps the LORMC can tell us just how many accidents have there been in the past 10 years or why this "considerable risk" has not been addressed before if it's such a danger? There are any number of small country roads with sharp bends, and responsible landowners do not rip out hundreds of metres of bushes to form a "sight line" they cut back the hedges so two cars can pass comfortably on the road without scratching their bodywork.
As for the snow, again if you live up a hill in the countryside then this is a fact of life. If you decide to live in an isolated spot get a 4x4 or carry a spade in your car in winter. And rather than spend "significant sums" destroying the vegetation with your big boys' digger get a salt bin like regular country folk and help you elderly neighbours by spreading a bit of grit, on the 1 or 2 times a year Lewes gets a couple of inches of snow. You can get a grit bin from Screwfix for £90. Think of the savings.
Next you'll be complaining that farm animals are making a noise in the morning and disturbing your sleep.
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On Sun 3 Mar at 9:54am bruinwoody wrote:
How sad it is that so many people have nothing better to do than dig (sic) at the Racecourse. I do not live in a 'God Forsaken Place' - I live in one of the most beautiful spots in England, and am very proud to do so - and have enjoyed living up here for 30 years.
We have repeatedly requested the local highways people to run a gritter up and down the motor road when we have significant snow - and they have refused, saying its a private road. The answer is the same when we have offered to pay for the service (we all pay significant local rates as well). Regrettably the area either side of the corner does become extremely dangerous after snow, when the side has settled and become slippy - and it is simply impossible to clear the ice without the help of Mother Nature Sun.
This was an area of scrub, with no environmental value, and little wildlife. The work was done very quickly, to a very high standard, using - sorry - appropriate equipment, to make sure it was done before nesting time. When the grass returns, it will become an extremely attractive piece of land with magnificent views, surrounded by rabbits, birds, wide mouth frogs et al - no doubt a natterjack toad or two!!
Their is absolutely no chance of applying for permission to build on the land even if we wanted to.
Please have another look when its grassed over and then take a view.
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On Sun 3 Mar at 2:24pm numberjack wrote:
Still no explanation as to why you have ripped out scrub and bushes behind the prison / spital road end of the gallops ?
I guess, because you canít justify it!
Why should the council grit your private road?
As per earlier posts, you live on the top of a hill off of the public highway, if the toad gets too dangerous to drive on, leave your car at the bottom and walk.
To say there was little wildlife, but now you have destroyed the habitat there will be plenty of rabbits and birds etc., shows your ignorance.

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On Sun 10 Mar at 11:44am concerned wrote:
Utterly pathetic move, considering that you built an illegal road behind the properties, in turn decimating hedgerows and all manner of wild habitat just months ago without council approval. As soon as you are told to sort out that mess you do this, wow congrats you've really showed us this time...


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