Tuesday, 21 June 2016


Sweethill from Old Court Close
Thankfully Sweethill, 427ft. high, still looks worthy of its name and very few traces remain of the 'shack & track' settlement that once covered its flanks.  This settlement resulted from the sell-off in 1921 of part of the Abergavenny Estate. Plots at £10 per quarter acre were snapped up by ex-servicemen to turn into small holdings.  The settlement grew rapidly but with only cesspools for drainage.

Unfortunately the land was in the catchment area for Brighton's water supply but was in the jurisdiction of Steyning RDC who had to rely on the very limited powers of the 1932 Town & Country Planning Act. Finally Brighton Council was forced to promote a Parliamentary Bill to secure the land which became part of Brighton in 1928.  The settlement was cleared and the hiatus of WW2 completed the process of disintegration.

During and after the war the area became very popular with Brighton residents who, in the autumn would take a short bus ride, or cycle, to avail themselves of the produce of the abandoned plots; apples, damsons, crabs, and as rewilding progressed, luscious blackberries.

In 1960 proposals surfaced to develop land on Sweethill as a film studio,  but nothing seems to have come of it. Sweethill is now in the South Downs National Park.

Today there are only two properties left. At estimated asking prices of c.£800,000 we can probably feel fairly relaxed about their means of sewage disposal.

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