Reg. Charity No.286899
President: Philip A. Snow, O.B.E., J.P.,M.A.,F.R.S.A.,F.R.A.I.
Vice-President: D.Robert Elleray, A.L.A.,F.R.S.A.,F.L.S.
Chairman: David Sumner
SOUTH DOWNS NATIONAL PARK
Last chance to get Castle Goring included
The report of the Inspector, Robert Parry, on the proposed South Downs National Park was published in July. The good feature of his report is that he recommends that the Park should be established; the bad feature is that he recommends that the Park should be smaller than the Countryside Agency had proposed. He recommends that Castle Goring and its parkland should not be added to the Park; and that the woods east of Titnore Lane, which were within the boundary proposed by the Countryside Agency, should be excluded. He also recommends that the whole of the Low Weald should be excluded.
The Inspector’s decision about Castle Goring and the woods east of Titnore Lane shows some misperceptions about the character of the area and internal contradictions within his report. The criteria for selecting land for a National Park are that it possesses natural beauty and provides markedly superior opportunities for open air recreation. The main reason the Inspector gives for excluding the woods east of Titnore Lane and Castle Goring is that there are no rights of way across this land. But he also argues, in another part of his report, that in such situations access might be improved if the land was included in a National Park, so that it could provide the desired opportunities for open air recreation. He does not, however, apply this argument to the land east of Titnore Lane, where there are paths that could become rights of way.
The Inspector also argues that there are few views into the land east of Titnore Lane and Castle Goring or visual links to the Downs; and that this land, unlike that west of the lane, does not have downland characteristics. In fact there is little difference between the character of the woods on either side of the lane, and the area can be seen from many places where public access is permitted, on the Downs and on Highdown.
The Society will be writing, with other societies that had argued for the inclusion of Castle Goring at the Inquiry, to urge Ministers to reject the Inspector’s advice.
David Sawers (Committee Member)