Clarification over Stanmer Park improvements

In a letter in local press today, clarifying proposals to improve Brighton's Stanmer Park, Councillor Pete West, chair of the environment committee, has written:

"Following your article about supposed parking changes at Stanmer Park (April 24) I need to be absolutely clear - no changes whatsoever have been decided, and nothing is set in stone. 

"We are improving sustainable travel options to the park and appropriate parking is very much part of the wider picture.

"What is clear is that parking is an issue.  The park is used as a free car park by commuters and current arrangements are random and chaotic.   This causes access problems for buses - and potentially for emergency services.  The car parks are in a poor state and the current arrangements detract from the wonderful historic setting of the park. 

"We have to do something.  I can’t think of any fine country estate where people park all over the grass and the driveways – and it shouldn’t happen at Stanmer if we’re showing the estate the respect it deserves.

"We are at the very early stages of developing options.  Detailed proposals won’t be available until we’ve done much more consultation. We have shared an early report containing ideas with stakeholders and are talking to them.  I attended the Stanmer stakeholders meeting on April 24 to hear their views on the parking issues.

"We are in the middle of the very first consultation on the Stanmer masterplan, looking to improve the landscape and listed buildings.  This will be followed by a specific consultation on parking later in the year,  It is therefore unfair and inaccurate to suggest nobody is being consulted. 

"To address specific concerns in the article:

"Access to the tea rooms is important.  While nothing has been decided, provision for disabled people is typically made by disabled parking bays close to facilities they are likely to visit.  We would work with groups representing older and disabled people to make sure any changes were supported.

"There are no proposals to stop people parking outside their homes in the village.  We’d like to talk to villagers about whether the village could look nicer if parking was changed.  But in principle parking for residents and their visitors would need to be very nearby, of course.   

"Contrary to the report, we have not ‘refused to discuss detailed questions’ – we simply do not have detailed proposals yet.

"We want Stanmer to thrive as a village, a farm and an attraction.  For that to happen we need to manage it better. 

"Improvements to The Level and Seven Dials have shown that while regeneration schemes like this are hotly debated, with good design and talking to residents and businesses we really can come up with changes which are better – and which people like."

Councillor West also urges people to respond to the consultation on the Stanmer proposals at  The specific parking consultation will be advertised later in the year once the detailed proposals have been drawn up.  Closing date is May 6.