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The county

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.

The Federation

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. 

Major issues

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.

Presentation on 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 Council:
Living 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 from http://www.openoffice.org/

Current issues are covered in the recent NEWSLETTER