January 17 2018 – “Open spaces and HCA” – West Sussex Gazette – Letter – Richard W. Symonds [The Ifield Society]

Dear Editor

Secretary of State for Environment Michael Gove states (“‘Public access is public good'”, WSG Jan 10):
“Government will in future pay for what people value and that will include public access which will help reconnect urban dwellers with the earth”
Government-quango Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) are refusing to listen to this Minister in the case of a valued area within Ifield Brook Meadows. HCA have destroyed two small bridges, thus preventing public access to probably the most beautiful riverbank walk in Sussex. This is despite a 100-signature community petition calling for the bridges to be rebuilt by the HCA.
Thanks to Crawley Borough Council, Ifield Brook Meadows has recently been granted protection as a Local Green Space [LGS], in the hope of an upgrading to Local Nature Reserve [LNR] status – supported by the Sussex Wildlife Trust.
Yes, you’ve guessed it, HCA are also refusing to cooperate with the Council for this upgrade.
As Kate Ashbrook of the Open Spaces Society says: “Public access brings significant benefits, not least to people’s health and well-being”
If this government-quango can refuse to listen to a Secretary of State and a Borough Council, what hope is there for the Open Spaces Society and the Local Community?
Yours sincerely
Richard W. Symonds
The Ifield Society
2 Lychgate Cottages
Ifield Street, Ifield Village
Crawley, West Sussex RH11 0NN
Tel: 07540 309592 (Text only – Very deaf)