Sussex has a population of about 1.5 million people. It is the second most
densely wooded county in England and has 90 miles of coastline. Brighton
and Hove and Chichester are the two cities in the south and Gatwick
airport, alongside Crawley and Horsham, is a major centre in the north.
Historic towns like Worthing, Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes, Midhurst,
Petworth, East Grinstead, Haywards Heath, Battle and Rye provide
attractive places to live, in addition to delightful villages such as
Amberley and Alfriston. The seaside, coastal plane, marshland, South
Downs, Vale of Sussex and High Weald provide plenty of scenic variety.
Communication links with the capital are good and it is no wonder the
county provides homes for many people commuting to work in London as well
as being a popular tourist and retirement destination.
Residents are interested in their living environment and all wish to
maintain a sense of place and enhance their surroundings. Many have joined
a local town, village or amenity society and 80 different societies now
make up the Federation. It was formed in 1966, when the Society of Sussex
Downsmen, Sussex Rural Community Council and Sussex Vigilants Association
decided on a policy of joint action to counter a threat from
indiscriminate development. It has always been independent and member-led.
Today, the Federation is a registered charity, remains a forum for
individual societies to benefit from each others’ experiences and
represents about 50,000 people who care for Sussex. It is an umbrella
organisation to distil and disseminate the work of members in local
planning, conservation and environmental matters throughout East and West
Sussex. In addition, as every amenity society needs to have adequate
insurance to cover the activities it carries out, the Federation
negotiates a competitive policy with a reputable agency. All members are
eligible to take up that policy.
Each member society deals with its own local problems, calling on the
Federation for support where needed. A newsletter is published three times
a year and open meetings are sponsored on a county and district basis to
discuss problems and subjects of mutual interest.
There is pressure for development of homes, schools, factories, offices, roads, airfields, power stations, wind farms, microwave towers, quarries for stone and sand, rubbish tips, incinerators, sewage works, alternative use of farmland; the list is almost endless. This development pressure raises a host of questions: how much new development must we have? Where will it be? How will it be implemented? Will you leave it to others to decide how your own local area is to be developed or would you like to have a say in how the development is designed and carried out?
Quality of life and a sense of place have many aspects. Amenity societies do their bit to ensure standards do not slip through active campaigning or, supplying a watchdog role on services provided by elected councils. Having requisite insurance cover allows volunteers to operate with confidence.
The Taylor Report
The following presentation on The Taylor Report was made at the conclusion
of the 2009 AGM by Peter Home and Andrew Smith from Horsham District
and Working in the Countryside (PowerPoint)
The presentation can be viewed with recent versions of Microsoft
Office or the excellent free alternative, Open Office, which is available
Current issues are covered in the recent NEWSLETTER