Letter concerning Kithurst Hill car park closure
Storrington and Sullington Parish Council (SSPC) have written a strongly worded letter to Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive of the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) concerning the proposed closure of Kithurst Hill car park.
West Sussex County Council (WSCC) are withdrawing their management of the Kithurst Hill car park in December. Other car park companies have been explored by the landowner, but due to lack of electricity supply (for CCTV and Auto Number Plate Capture) these alternatives are not feasible.
The South Downs National Park Trust were also involved in discussions to take over the management of the car park, however they have now pulled out of the commitment and discussions with the landowner and West Sussex County Council. So the owner is left in the position of having to close the access road and car park to the public from the 22nd December.
The SDNPA have been accused of withdrawing from negotiations with the owner, but their press office informed us that it was the South Downs National Park Trust – not the South Downs National Park Authority – who did this. The South Downs National Park Trust is the official charity of the South Downs National Park, although SDNPA is at pains to emphasise that the Trust is a separate charitable body.
The SDNPA says neither it, nor its associated charity, has the resources to take this car park on given their budget constraints.
Response from South Downs National Park Authority
In a response to the SSPC letter, Mr Trevor Beattie says that he “shares concerns about the closure” and that “the SDNPA has no responsibility for car parks other than the ones we own at Midhurst and Seven Sisters”.
Mr Beattie continues “WSCC has taken the decision that it can no longer give support to landowners to provide these small yet much valued car parks on a voluntary basis. This is a matter for them.” He then finished by citing financial constraints and public spending cuts as being the root cause of the problem.
The Trust says on its website that its aim is to see “more people able to access and enjoy their National Park”.