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In a fantastic victory for local Brighton campaigners, Tesco have withdrawn their involvement from development plans for the Lewes Road Community Garden.

The ongoing campaign has been trying to protect the garden from corporate invasion for the last 18 months, and after eviction at 2am last week (See SchNEWS 738) when the bulldozers flattened the site, things looked bleak.

Then, unexpectedly, in a meeting on Thursday (16th) with Green MP Caroline Lucas and council representatives, Tesco decided to pull out of the project saying, “We believe the future of the community garden should be resolved locally, by the community and by its representatives. We do not think it is helpful for us to become the unintended focus of this debate, nor do we want to become an obstacle to it being resolved by the local community.”

One local told SchNEWS he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the news and are now hoping that ‘no developer in their right mind’ would try to move onto the site after first a betting shop, then Tesco, have been told ‘where to stick it’. The site will now go back to the planning department and development will undergo a further consultation with the community.

Some of the options that have the support of the residents are a small trader’s market with social housing and gardens, something to promote local businesses where the local community will see the benefits of profit, rather than faceless private shareholders. With the Brighton Connexions service’s funding being cut this year some are hoping for a community centre for the teenagers in the area who currently have no real social service provision.

The campaigners were keen to stress that although this battle has been won, they are still fighting the war and will continue to be involved with the consultation process, as well as following up on the illegal eviction of last week.



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