As 2022 closed, the South Downs National Park announced funding of over £2m to help local communities across the region.
New cycle tracks, better bridleways, school playground improvements and work to enhance a precious chalk stream are among the projects to benefit from a major funding boost from the South Downs National Park Authority. Just under £2m will benefit 38 community schemes across Hampshire, West Sussex and East Sussex. The investment comes from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which is paid by developers to support new local infrastructure, with the Authority playing an administrative role. As well as the £1.95m, 40 parish councils across the National Park will be taking a share of just over £550,000 to support grassroot projects in their area.
Among the inspiring projects will be those that help connect people to the countryside, including funding for the final phase of the Egrets Way, completing the ‘missing link’ between Piddinghoe and Deans Farm in East Sussex. Once completed, the 7-mile walking and cycling path will provide an easy connection through the National Park from Lewes to Newhaven. Significant funding is also going towards the restoration of Cockshut Chalk stream, one of only 200 chalk streams in the world. The project will help create over six hectares of wetland, including restoration of the natural course of the stream, removal of invasive non-native species, tree planting and the creation of a new bank to improve public access.
In West Sussex, funding will help scores of schoolchildren at Fittleworth Primary School through changes to their playground to learn about climate change, sustainable water management (SuDs) and nature recovery while a cash injection will provide improvements at Pulborough Brooks, including more accessible trails and an upgraded visitor centre. Funding will also help install a road crossing at South Harting.
In Hampshire, funding will help support outdoor fitness equipment and a multi-use games area in Liss. Investment will upgrade the network of bridleways around Marwell Zoo – a scheme that is linked to a future project of providing an off-road route between Winchester and Marwell. In East Meon, funding will help support a range of highway improvements in the village.
The full list of projects to benefit by county:
Please note while funding is provided from the Community Infrastructure Levy, the 38 schemes will primarily be delivered by partners and community groups and the CIL investment often only makes up a portion of the total cost of the project. Also please note, this list only applies to the South Downs National Park. Other local planning authorities (district, city and boroughs) in Hampshire, East Sussex and West Sussex have their own CIL schemes for areas outside the National Park.
- Lower Ouse Vally: Egrets Way – Phase 7, 0.8km North Piddinghoe to Deans Farm, a shared-use path. £300,000
- Lewes: Regeneration of the Cockshut Chalk stream – creation of 6.8ha wetland including the restoration of the natural course of the stream, enhanced flow and connectivity to the floodplain and Lewes Brooks, removal of invasive non-native species, tree planting and creation of a new bank to enhance public access. £150,000
- Cuckmere: Seven Sisters Country Park – A National Park for all: Improving Accessibility – Warden accommodation to support year-round tourism, including installation of air source heat pumps and providing a new facility block for Camping Barn (accessible toilet, shower and cooking facilities) £96,000
- Cuckmere: Buzz Active – Improvements to Canoe Barn at Cuckmere, including flood protection measures and improved entranceway. £43,000.
- Lewes: Landport Skatepark – new cycle track and skatepark at Landport Recreation Ground. £50,000
- Lewes area – surface and habitat improvements to 1074m of Ouse Valley Way to enable year round access to riverside path. £40,000
- Lewes: OVESCo Get Bikery, – Ecargo bike service for Lewes. £27,000
- Iford – off-road cycle way from Iford to Swanborough, including upgrade of footpath to permissive cycle path and bridleway including linking in with Bridleway Iford 13. £26,000
- Iford Bridleway – 1.7km surface works to recently designated Iford Rise Farm Bridleway to enable year round shared use and adding to Ouse Valley Cycle Network. £15,000
- Lewes: South Malling School – replace and enhance playground equipment. £34,500
- Keymer Road, Ditchling – new car park (owned and managed by Ditchling Parish Council) £10,000
- Lewes: Improve mound by Heart of Reeds, Lewes Railway Land Local Nature Reserve – improvements to paths and handrails, additional wildflower planting £10,000
- Lewes: St Thomas a Becket Church, – Make safe the 15th Century spiral staircase to Grade II* listed Church to enable public access again. £2,500
- Fittleworth Primary School: Playground improvements – project will focus on adapting to climate change, demonstrating sustainable water management (SuDs) and nature recovery as well as providing education, play and sporting opportunities. £200,000
- Pulborough Brooks: Takes Flight – improved visitor centre, upgrades and more accessible trails, improved volunteer facilities. £110,000
- Bury C of E Primary School: (South Downs Ambassador School) – Classroom extension to accommodate Year 5 and 6 pupils as they progress through the school. £100,000
- Upper Beeding: Riverside walk improvements (includes 350m extension) £35,000
- Steyning to Washington – a Proposed Permissive Bridleway (685m of surface improvements and installation of gates) £25,000.
- South Harting: installation of Road Crossing on B2146 to South Gardens (the 14 acres of recreational space) £25,000
- Petworth: – Installation of solar panels at Sylvia Beaufoy Youth Centre. £20,660
- Petworth Park Sports Ground: Sports and recreation equipment. £20,000
- Upper Beeding – redesign and rebuild of existing facilities at Small Dole Skatepark. £10,000
- Stedham Recreation Ground: Improvements – replacement of old climbing frame with new rope pyramid and see-saw. £9,000
- Arundel: New map and information board at Town Quay £3,000
- Liss: Newman Collard Recreation Improvements – outdoor fitness equipment and Multi-use Games Area. £118,000
- Marwell to Winchester Bridleways: upgrade network of bridleways in and around Marwell Zoo and Hotel – up to 1.5km of surfacing and drainage works (linked to future project to deliver off-road link from Marwell to Winchester) £100,000
- Greatham Village Hall Recreation Ground: – creation of all-inclusive accessible playground to replace existing playground. £90,000
- Buriton Village Hall Enhancements: – energy efficiency improvements – potential for 12kw solar PV and provision of two fast-charge EV charging points. £50,000
- Petersfield: Queen Elizabeth Country Park, near Clanfield – Changing Places Toilet. £40,000
- Selborne: Traffic calming scheme – improve entrances to Selborne and widen footways £40,000
- The Petersfield School: – installation of Climbing Wall that will also be open to community groups £29,000
- Winchester: Access Improvements to the Watercress Way, Winchester (such as re-profiling of land, installation of hand rails and changes to existing ramps) – £20,000
- Meonstoke C of E Infant School: – To improve a wooded area and bark pathways within the school grounds. £18,000
- East Tisted: – Highway improvements including review and reduction of existing highway signs, bespoke village gateway signs and new fingerposts) £15,000
- East Meon: – Highway improvements including review and reduction of existing highway signs, bespoke village gateway signs and new fingerposts. £15,000
- Sheet: – Highway improvements including reduction of junction with Village Green, various measures on London Road – improved crossing points, and decluttering of signage. £15,000
- Twyford – Flood Alleviation Scheme (to fund Phase 1 – construct 115m length ditch to replace 90m section of pipe on Hazeley Road). £8,748.26