Monday, 09 July 2007 01:47

More views sought on South Downs

Written by  Ruralcity Media

ImageThe government has launched a further consultation on the proposed South Downs National Park.

After a long delay due to a number of legal complications, Defra has made public the final report from the South Downs National Park public inquiry.

The inquiry inspector agreed the principle of a South Downs National Park but recommended a number of changes to the original proposed boundary.

Maps showing the recommended boundary modifications - minor additions and deletions - are now available.

The inspector has also recommended a major variation involving the removal over 300 Km2 of land from the northern boundary of the proposed National Park between Petersfield and Pulborough.

Interested parties are now being invited to comment on the boundary in the light of these recommendations and taking into account the changed legal background for National Park designation.

Information on the changes, their likely impact and details of the consultaion, can be found on the Defra website.

Any objections and representations must be made in writing, and be with Defra by Monday 13 August 2007.

A National Parks Committee Report prepared in 1947 first recommended that the South Downs be one of 12 National Parks in England and Wales.

Some 60 years on, all of the landscapes recommended by the committee have National Park status except the South Downs.

Members of the South Downs Campaign led by actor Brian Blessed called on the government to finally implement the initial report’s recommendation on 8 July.

The South Downs was rejected as a National Park in 1956 on the grounds that intensive farming had undermined the area’s recreational value.

Instead the South Downs was divided along county lines and designated as two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in the 1960s.

Campaign chairman Robin Crane said: “With increasing development and a rising population, there has never been a greater need for a South Downs National Park.”

The government needed to commit to creating a national park covering the widest possible area as soon as possible, he added.

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