Nearly 2,800 people responded to the public consultation about the introduction of charging in the car parks on the Ashdown Forest.
The results will be considered by the Board of Conservators on Monday 31st January.
Despite a small majority (54%) disagreeing with the introduction of parking charges, the Board is being asked to vote in favour of introducing the medium tariff band – £2.00 up to one hour, £2.50 up to two hours, £4.00 up to four hours, £6.00 all day, £60-80 annual pass.
As you can see in the following pie-chart, most respondents disagreed strongly (43% strongly to 11% slightly):
65% of respondents took time to make written comments. Out of the 3,795 individual comments, 520 of them directly addressed the question of whether payments for parking should be introduced: 38% rejected the proposal, 27% rejected it claiming Ashdown Forest should be free and open to all, while 34% accepted the proposal. Many respondents expressed concerns that Forest users will avoid paying for parking through a range of behaviours including parking on verges, parking on highways, parking on Forest roads and tracks and parking in local villages.
The vast majority felt the proposed rates were too high. However 70% of respondents, did feel that Ashdown Forest needed more funding, and suggestions for other funding streams were made. Many encouraging voluntary donations, but nearly one in ten argued that Ashdown Forest should be funded by central or local government.
As well as asking about the parking charge proposal, the survey also asked about what people do on the Forest, how many years they have visited the Forest and how long they generally stay. There was also a question about whether the frequency of their visits had changed during the pandemic.
The full results of the public consultation, and the recommendations to be considered by the Board, can be found on the Conservator’s website: www.ashdownforest.org.
The meeting takes place at 2pm on Monday 31st January at Uckfield Civic Centre. Members of the public are welcome to attend, but space is limited to 250 people. Anyone wishing to ask a question has to submit it in advance. You should submit your question by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on Thursday 27th January.