South Downs National Park

By | Category: Travel rumblings

60 years after the first national parks were set up, the ninth national park covering the South Downs has been agreed to by the government. It ends a long process since the area was listed for national park status back in 1949 when the original act setting up national parks was introduced.
So what does it mean?
The area has the highest level of planning protection that exists so, as many councils and MP’s have been quick to shout, it means many planning issues may be removed from local government to the new, unelected park authority that will be set up. It also means that tourists are likely to be attracted to the area just as they are to all the other national parks we have.
The Conservative MP for Eastbourne, Nigel Waterson has said that he feels this may inhibit improvements to the A27 and that planning applications may be removed to the new park authority. The original aim of the Act was, amongst other things, to provide recreational opportunities for the public. Will this mean then more tarmac car parks and more roadside cafes? Probably not, so why are people objecting?
The campaign for this park has the backing of bodies like Campaign for Protection of Rural England (led by the author Bill Bryson who deserves a major award for the effect he has had on UK tourism) and the Ramblers Association as well as over a hundred other bodies. It seems that it is councils who have objected the most. And maybe “nimbies” who won’t like the tourism advantages that additional numbers of visitors will bring. They probably won’t object to the injection of money in the economy or the price support it will give to the houses they own though!

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