Ashdown Forest will introduce car parking payments to maintain and enhance this beautiful landscape. Payments for parking will be introduced on Ashdown Forest after the Conservators – the organisation created to manage the Forest – approved a proposal that will bring in sustainable revenue and protect the area and its unique landscape.
A six-week public consultation attracted almost three thousand responses, with 70% agreeing that more funding had to be found and 44% of respondents supporting the introduction of parking payments.
Chief Executive James Adler said: “We realise that a change such as this will not be universally popular, but we have to raise money to care for this precious place. We would like to thank all of those who contributed to the consultation and came to the public meeting. It is vital for the future of Ashdown Forest that our income is sustainable. Paying to park will not be the only source of funding to care for the Forest but it will form the bedrock of our income”.
The Forest will now carry out a tendering process to finalise how to instal an appropriate system into the car parks. Payments for using the Forest’s car parks are likely to begin in the summer of 2022.
James added: “As soon as possible we will use the funding that visitors provide to repair the car parks most in need. We will build a rolling programme of repairs both to the car parks but also the access tracks for walkers and horse riders. We hope the changes will make the Forest more accessible. Regular visitors will be able to purchase an annual pass and know that their contribution is preserving the place they enjoy for future generations.
Ashdown Forest is an absolutely stunning and unique area, loved by many people. It is also the home of Winnie-the-Pooh. We have been explaining that the Forest has been struggling financially even though we welcome more than 1.4 million people every year. Our visitors will now be contributing to the Forest and helping to keep this wonderful place thriving”.