Local residents are invited to contribute ideas for restoring a 70 acre piece of land back to its natural habitat.
For centuries the land - a green gap between Shoreham and Lancing in West Sussex, UK - was used for agriculture. In a rare move it was purchased by Adur District Council in 2020 to protect it from housing development.
Now the Council and the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust are developing ideas for the site to become a haven for wildlife and a green space to be used and enjoyed by the community and are seeking ideas and feedback from local residents as to how they would like the space to be used.
Wetlands, like New Salts Farm, help to store carbon and support an abundance of plant life, which in turn provide shelter and breeding grounds for wildlife. Salt marshes are important habitats for many rare and unusual species of plants, birds and animals and help protect surrounding land from flooding. They also absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which helps to decrease the effects of climate change.
“We are at the very beginning of an exciting journey to ensure that New Salts Farm becomes a haven for wildlife whilst providing benefits to the wider community."
New Salts Farm is one of a number of areas of land purchased by Adur District Council as part of its pledge to promote biodiversity and tackle climate change. In 2019, the Council declared a climate emergency and has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Cllr Emma Evans, Adur's executive member for the environment said, “With the purchase of the land completed, we can now work on bringing to life our vision to return the land to its natural habitat and through doing so give a much-needed boost to the local biodiversity. And by working in partnership with the community, our intention is for this to become a community green space that can be enjoyed by the residents of Adur today and for the generations to come.”
On December 9 the council hosted a virtual webinar so residents could hear about the current ideas for the site. As well as restoring streams, wetlands, hedgerows and meadows, this could include creating an educational training space and a community garden.
The vision for New Salts Farm aligns with one of the 18 recommendations made by the Adur & Worthing Climate Assembly for tackling climate change - for it to become a centre of excellence, educating and engaging residents and schools in sustainability issues. The Climate Assembly, which took place in 2020, was represented by 43 residents from Adur and Worthing.
Adur District Council and the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust are developing the ideas for the site as part of an application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.