Nearly 2,000 people have their say on proposed parking charges at Ashdown Forest

More than 1,800 people have so far responded to a six-week public consultation on car parking charges on Ashdown Forest.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 11:41 am

The Conservators of Ashdown Forest are considering a proposal to introduce car parking charges in 2022 across the Forest car parks due to a significant funding shortage.

The consultation runs until December 6, and an additional public meeting on the Forest’s importance and its future has been added for this week. The meeting will take place on Monday 29 November at Uckfield Civic Centre starting at 7:30pm.

Ashdown Forest Chief Executive James Adler said: “We want to thank everyone who has taken part in the consultation so far. We know that local people and visitors from further afield care greatly about the Forest and hearing their wide variety of views via the consultation and the public meetings has been fantastic”.

Ashdown Forest at sunset by Dave Brooker. SUS-211122-113005001

Four well attended public meetings have already taken place - at Fairwarp, Forest Row, Nutley and Crowborough.

He added: “The recent talks on the future of the Forest have been well attended so we added in a Zoom meeting last week, and now the additional meeting in Uckfield. There are three weeks for people to respond to the consultation. We’d like to remind people that we have a significant budget deficit this financial year which is forecast, without additional income, to grow considerably in the next four years”.

“The Conservators of Ashdown Forest are seeking funding solutions that enable the Forest to stand on its own two feet financially. In the past the Forest has relied on East Sussex County Council to fund the annual shortfall, but the Council can no longer do so. That is why this specific consultation is taking place. We are positive about the future of Ashdown Forest which we have set out in our recently published vision and where we believe the Forest should be.”

Located in the heart of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and covering approximately 10 square miles, Ashdown Forest is one of the largest public access spaces in the South East.

To take part in the consultation, go to www.ashdownforest.org.