Victorious South Downs Campaign calls it a day after 20 years

Posted On 02 Feb 2010 at 8:58 am

The South Downs Campaign today disbands almost 20 years after it first formed to fight for national park status for the South Downs.

The SDC, a network of about 160 organisations, will hold its final conference today at 3pm.

It was first formed in 1990, and finally secured victory in November last year when environment minister Hilary Benn signed the confirmation order for the South Downs National Park.

Robin Crane CBE, Chair of the SDC, said: “This has been a long, hard fight, but we never gave in.

“It has been that perseverance, along with the overwhelming public support, that helped us win the day.

“I have enjoyed my time immensely and have worked with many totally committed and tireless people along the way.

“Our final conference will be a celebration of this huge achievement and of all their hard work. People should be justly proud of this success.

“Personally, 20 years has been a long time to lead this fight and I am looking forward to taking a back seat in the future.

“We have played our part and now it is up to others to lead the way. I wish them every success.”

About 160 people are expected to attend the conference, including Richard Shaw, the new National Park Authority’s interim chief executive, who will speak.

Long-time supporter Bill Bryson, who was due to speak, has had to pull out due to family illness, while Huw Irranca-Davies MP, Minister for National Parks withdrew late last week due to a last minute change in Commons’ business. They have both sent messages to be read out at the conference.

The area was given national park status in March, which means the area it covers is granted additional protection from development.

The original boundaries were drawn up in 2002, but disputes from Sussex councils led to lengthy consultation followed by a 19-month public enquiry.

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