Rewilding project under threat from thousands of new houses

A 3,500 acre 'rewilding project' in Sussex is under threat from plans to build thousands of new homes, according to the owner of the Knepp estate in Horsham. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A 3,500 acre 'rewilding project' in Sussex is under threat from plans to build thousands of new homes. That's according to the owner of the Knepp estate in Horsham which has been praised by the Government for its pioneering approach.

Developers say they want to work with it and will plant trees and hedges.


The Knepp Estate in Horsham is home to a variety of endangered species. The estates rewilding project has received international acclaim and praise from the government. 


We have got white storks here. We have a nesting pair. Last year we had four fledged chicks and that was the first time in 306 years.

Sir Charlie Burrell, Owner-Knepp estate

A nesting pair of white storks Credit: ITV News Meridian

As part of their work, owner, Sir Charlie Burrell has spent the last 6 years creating a plan which will expand the estates safe haven for wildlife beyond its boundary.

It'll stretch for 50 miles from Climping on the south coast, through Knepp and Buck Barn to St Leonard's Forest near Crawley. 

However, those plans are in jeopardy as a 3,500 home estate could be built at Buck Barn.

Plans are in jeopardy as a 3,500 home estate like this one could be built at Buck Barn Credit: ITV News Meridian

The Buck Barn development is just one of a number being considered. Horsham district council is required by the Government to give permission for 1200 homes a year to be built for a period of 17 years. 

 


There is a mistaken belief that there are alternative brownfield sites available for new homes within our council area, but there are not, so this obliges us to look at allowing house building on agricultural fields that  have been put forward. 

Horsham District Council

The council also says that no sites have actually been allocated into a new Local Plan.

Councillors are set to review the plan in the Autumn. Until then, the team at Knepp will continue their work, giving rare and endangered wildlife a chance to thrive.