17 January 2023
District Council steps in to save vital link to South Downs countryside
A vital link to walking and riding routes across the South Downs has been saved by Horsham District Council.
The link, a privately-owned rural car park at Kithurst Hill near Storrington, was set to close when West Sussex County Council, who had managed the maintenance of the site for a number of years, decided to withdraw its support. The South Downs National Park Authority also declined to take on responsibility for the car park.
Without any organisation agreeing to take on the responsibility for the car park the private landowner would have to close facility to the public. This would cause significant parking and access problems on the narrow lane leading up to Kithurst Hill and could result in trespassing, damage to crops and potential harm to livestock.
Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for the Environment and Rural Affairs Cllr Josh Potts commented:
“I am delighted that as a council we are in a position to take on the responsibility of this key facility. This means that Kithurst Car Park won’t be closing at the end of the month.
The closure of this car park would have had a devastating effect on the local community and the local visitor economy, as it is widely used by so many people including local families, dog walkers, horse riders, cyclists and tourists. It cannot be overstated how important continued access to this beautiful spot is for people’s mental and physical health.
I’d like to thank the huge public support and all the groups and people who use it. And I’d like to give particular thanks to actor Hugh Bonneville, Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex, and Andrew Griffith MP who both gave their full support to the campaign.”
Photo: Cllr Josh Potts, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Rural Affairs at Kithurst Car Park
Additional STATEMENT FROM CHAIRMAN OF THE PARISH COUNCIL:
KITHURST HILL CAR PARK
Storrington & Sullington Parish Council is delighted at the news that the Kithurst Hill Car Park will remain open thanks to Horsham District Council.
The privately owned car park has historically been maintained by West Sussex County Council who had been in discussions with the South Downs National Park Trust to take over the responsibility. Unfortunately these discussions broke down in the latter part of 2022 leaving the owner with little option but to close the facility.
Following a swell of public opinion, the Parish Council urged Horsham District Council to step in and we are pleased to say that agreement has been reached that responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep will transfer to HDC with our Neighbourhood Wardens taking an active role in carrying out inspections and reporting any issues.
This agreement will ensure that our local community and visitors to the area will be able to continue to access & enjoy the South Downs National Park.
Mrs Anna Worthington-Leese
Chairman, Parish Council
Press Release submitted to the Storrington Community Website