Welcome to the East Dean and Friston Parish Council website. We hope that you enjoy browsing it and finding out more about our village and its council. We always welcome feedback from our site visitors, so if you have any comments or suggestions for improvements then please let us know via the "Contact Us" link.

What's new?

The minutes of the most recent Council meeting, held on 6th December, have now been published and can be viewed by clicking here. If you are in a hurry then you can view a summary of the minutes by clicking here.

The agenda for the next Planning Committee meeting, to be held on December 18th, has now been published and can be found by clicking here. As with all meetings, members of the public are welcome to attend and raise any relevant topics in the public session that preceeds the meeting.

At the Parish Council meeting on 6th December, County Councillor Stephen Shing announced that East Sussex County Council Highways committee had agreed to match funding for the road safety improvements at the top of Friston Hill, proposed by the Parish Council. At a time of severe County Council cutbacks this is really good news and means the project can now move forward. More information when we get it.

At the Extraordinary Parish Council meeting held on 16 October 2018, the Parish Council resolved to set up a Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to assemble a group of people who will start to put together the basic details required for the initial phases of the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan. Some of the members of this Steering Group will come from the Parish Council, but we are really looking for others, who will complement the group by bringing different skills and interests to the ‘Task Force’. More information on this group can be found by clicking here.

Did you know that the Parish has its own Tree Warden?

Peter Williamson is available to provide advice and information about trees and hedging, including for planning applications and plant health. To find out more about Peter and the service he provides please see here.

The Parish and its Council


The Parish of East Dean and Friston is located between the south coast towns of Seaford and Eastbourne, situated on the southern edge of Wealden District in the County of East Sussex and within the South Downs National Park. It is a relatively large rural area, comprising the village of East Dean and Friston, together with the smaller hamlets of Birling Gap and Crowlink. The A259 main coast road passes through the Parish with the old village to the south and the newer parts of the village (known as the "Downlands Estate") to the north. The Parish is primarily residential, covers an area of 3.3sq miles and consists of some 760 households with a population of around 2,200. 

East Dean Village is centred around the Village Green with its war memorial, medieval church and long-established inn, “The Tiger”. To the North-West of the village, as the A259 ascends Friston Hill, is the area known as Friston, which was originally a separate village with its own church at the top of the hill.

Birling Gap is a coastal hamlet with a long shingle beach, backed by the famous Seven Sisters cliffs and not far from Beachy Head. The Birling Gap visitor centre and cafe, and some of the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.

Crowlink is a small hamlet grouped around a manor house; in the 18th century it was a haven for smugglers of Gin that became known as "Genuine Crowlink". It was also once the home of the famous author, Edith Nesbit, whose best-known work is “The Railway Children”.

Parish Councils were formed in England under the Local Government Act 1894 to take over local oversight of civic duties in rural towns and villages. Before this date a variety of groups based around ecclesiastical (church) parishes had responsibility for these matters, in a system of local government that originated in the feudal system of the 8th century. The establishment of Parish Councils effectively separated church from state and today's councils are totally secular in nature and independent from the Parochial Church Councils that deal with the administration of the local Church of England places of worship.

Following the 1894 Act, both East Dean and Friston began Parish Meetings (not council meetings) and East Dean then formed a Parish Council in 1924. The Friston Parish Meeting merged with East Dean to form the East Dean and Friston Parish Council in 1948.

Parish Councils are the first tier of local government and have limited variable tax raising powers. The component part of the Council Tax, which comes to the Parish Council, is known as the Precept.
Parish Councils are responsible for areas known as civil parishes, and there are approximately 9,000 Parish Councils in England. East Dean and Friston is one of those civil Parishes. Although there is nothing to prevent Parish Councils being political in nature, the current East Dean and Friston PC members are all independent of any party political sponsorship. The current Parish Council was elected in 2015 and is due for re-election in May 2019.