Should people pay to park in Ashdown Forest?

16th November 2021

The Conservators of Ashdown Forest, who care for the forest on a day-to-day basis, are consulting on whether to introduce parking charges in the Forest.

The Conservators are asking for your views on:

  • Whether parking charges should be introduced from Spring/Summer 2022.
  • The level of parking charges
  • The details of the design and operation of the proposed scheme.

Natural England provides funds to manage the biodiversity of Ashdown Forest, but the Conservators face a deficit on funds for visitor management, including managing car parks and paths. The sources of funding and how resources are spent are explained in the introduction to the survey.

Details of proposed parking charges are given on page 3 of the consultation survey. These do not include information on the costs of setting up the scheme and paying for parking wardens.

Your feedback will help the Conservators to decide whether to introduce charges and to decide on the design and operation of any charging scheme if they introduce charging.

In giving feedback, you may wish to give your views in the comments box (question 18) on whether:

– the proposal for parking charges in the five main carparks could encourage drivers to use the other smaller car parks or to park on the roadside

– there would be a greater need for maintenance of the smaller car parks and the risk of damage to verges and litter over a wider area

– the possible displacement of vehicles from the main car parks could undermine the financial viability of the scheme, considering the high level of investment needed to set up and monitor the scheme.

In the comments box you may also wish to suggest alternative sources of funding for Ashdown Forest, including writing to East Sussex County Councillors seeking reinstatement of County Council funding.

Respond to the survey: https://consultation.eastsussex.gov.uk/governance-and-community-services/ashdown-forest-car-parking-charging/

The consultation ends on 6 December 2021.

CPRE Sussex will be responding to the survey and is planning to raise concerns. Please can you let CPRE Sussex know whether you support or oppose car parking charges and your reasons for this. Email: info@cpresussex.org.uk