Protest against Patcham plans attracts more than 100 people

NUMEROUS people have protested against Royal Mail’s plans to build a new sorting office in Patcham.

Organizers were delighted when at least 180 people turned out at the event at Patcham Court Farm on Vale Avenue to hear from activists fighting the program.

A speaker on Sunday, Michael Howard from Patcham, said people in the Patcham Against Royal Mail area were grateful for having helped them object to the scheme.

Patcham protest by Jeff Woodall Vale 31 07 4 (must be credited)

Patcham protest by Jeff Woodall Vale 31 07 4 (must be credited)

In less than two weeks, more than 300 people objected to a planning application for the site submitted by the Royal Mail. Three people have sent letters of support.

The planning application concerns a new distribution office, parking lots, two substations and a vehicle maintenance facility.

Mr Howard said: “I was stopped by people in the street. They are so grateful that we have come together to try and stop this.

“It’s a lot of brilliant teamwork. We feel there is great concern but we are confident that we will bring this to an end.

“People help voluntarily. A few guys who have an assignment film the bats. Bats nest up there and blindworms everywhere.”

Other speakers on the day included Rebecca Kimber, who has set up a website and Facebook group to bring activists together, David Harris, who has extensive knowledge of the area’s water systems, and environmental advocate Bronte Ansell.

Mr Howard also praised two volunteers who distributed leaflets across the area to raise awareness.

People’s concerns include the impact on wildlife and chemical contamination of the site mentioned in previous planning applications, including oil drums and dust from collapsed asbestos roofs.

Mr Howard is working through details from a 2005 park and ride planning application to support the case against the current proposals.

He said: “Parking is terrible but the water system, the aquifers, have been ignored. The water from here flows to Peacehaven.

‘If they contaminate the aquifers it will hurt all of Brighton. The planning application has ignored major concerns about asbestos on the site.

“All farm buildings were covered with asbestos. They talked about asbestos dust on the area’s soil. Seventeen years later, more roofs have collapsed and there is more dust on the ground.

“They haven’t talked about it at all and it’s shocking.”

A Brighton and Hove City Council committee made up of senior councilors was due to decide last Friday (July 29) whether to grant the Royal Mail a long-term lease.

However, a report on the Council-owned website was withdrawn before the Policy and Resources Committee meeting began to allow Council members to get more information about the proposals.

A second public meeting is scheduled for Sunday (7 August) at All Saints Church in Patcham, at a time to be confirmed on the Patcham Against Royal Mail website and Facebook group. Protest against Patcham plans attracts more than 100 people

Fry Electronics Team

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