£3.8m lottery funding for Stanmer Park approved

Posted On 09 Jan 2017 at 12:38 pm

The restoration of Stanmer Park has moved a big step forward today after the city council learned it was to receive £3.8million of lottery funding to restore historical buildings and rework the park.
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The masterplan, which will see around 20 hectares of the park’s landscape, and Grade II listed and other buildings restored, was approved last month by the South Downs National Park Authority, despite concerns over the creation of a large car park at its centre.

The £3.8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and BIG Lottery Fund’s Parks for People scheme will be joined by match funding and revenue and contributions from partner organisations and donors to reach the £5.8million total cost of the project.

Gill Mitchell, chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s environment committee, said: “It’s fantastic news. This project has the potential not just to restore a substantial part of Stanmer Park to its former glory, but develop the area and provide exciting new experiences, employment and opportunities for residents and visitors both now and in the future.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the New Year.”

Trevor Beattie, Chief Executive for the South Downs National Park Authority, said: “Stanmer Park is a unique survival from the Georgian age and this grant will restore its original landscape. It will also make it much easier for the people of Brighton and Hove to access the National Park on their doorstep.”

Alma Howell, Assistant Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas for Historic England added: “The success of this bid will start a process of helping to remove Stanmer Park from our Heritage at Risk Register by delivering a number of restoration projects and a stronger heritage led vision for the estate. We look forward to continuing to work with the council to find positive sustainable solutions for the remaining ‘At Risk’ factors.”

For the past two years council officers have been working with representatives from with Plumpton College, the South Downs National Park and other organisations including Historic England, to prepare the masterplan for the park following a £300,000 grant from Parks for People.

The plan includes:

Restoring the landscape and heritage features
Addressing traffic and parking issues, and improving access to the park
Relocating the council’s City Parks depot
Restoring the Walled Garden and surrounding area
Delivering horticultural and heritage gardening training and food production
Providing educational and learning opportunities
Explaining the heritage and importance of the Estate
A long term vision for the estate over the next 10 years.

The proposals also include re-allocating car parking, creating some additional spaces, and overflow provision, to accommodate some of the extra 300,000 visitors expected each year.

The car parking improvements include a new landscaped car park at the Patchway – an area currently used for car parking and the Cityparks depot which will also replace parking areas at Stanmer House.

The Lower Lodges will see the current parking areas formally laid out and landscaped to include an extra 100 spaces while smaller car parks and ad-hoc parking along the main drive will be removed.

A Transport Plan includes cycle parking, a proposed cycle hire hub, improved walking and cycling routes, and signage from Falmer station.

The restoration project will include a variety of opportunities for volunteering and training in horticulture, heritage gardening and food production, along with facilities for learning about the heritage of the estate, historic landscape and the South Downs.

Plumpton College has agreed, in principle, to manage and maintain the walled garden on a lease from the council.

Ian Rideout, Head of Faculty Forestry, Horticulture and Foundation Learning at Plumpton College said: “We are delighted to be a key partner in this project that will greatly benefit the local community.

“We look forward to continuing to provide learning opportunities at Stanmer Park for local people to access education and training in the walled garden.”

Work on the project will start in the New Year with most restoration works carried out in 2018.

  1. Nick Reply

    Unfortunately the plan for the park also has many negative aspects. These are due to the lack of consultation with the many families, dog walkers, cyclists, runners, walkers and others who use and enjoy the park.

    Key concerns which are not mentioned in the article but are likely to be discussed a lot from here on are:
    – Car parking charges. Currently it is free to park and over 80% of visitors arrive by car (particularly since the bus service was cut and is now weekend only). The proposed charges vary up to £6. The charges are flat – you pay the same on a rainy Tuesday in November as for a popular Sunday in August. This will kill off-peak visits and the cafes which rely on them
    – removal of trees including memorial trees. Marked by white ribbons. Seem arbitrary, one next to another, based on snapshot 200 years ago…
    – Reducing access across the park. Currently there are lots of small car parks which allow visitors to spread out, unload picnics/games onto the many fields, dogs straight from cars, bikes straight to tracks. Now these will be removed and two mega car parks which will mean more carrying for families (and so less spread across the park), dogs needing to be on leads across large car parks/busy areas, cyclists with congested areas. All making the park that bit less attractive and easy to visit

    All in all, visitor numbers will fall with these negatives, particularly the likely £2m plus parking revenue that is trying to be gained. That will be a pity as the park is a great resource for the city. Stanmer park is popular now and effectively charging for access will reduce the benefits to physical and mental health that it provides

  2. Krysha Payne Reply

    I just hope the residents are considered in all of this too. They have seen their vibrant farming community become an eyesore and the church and social club closed too…..
    A former resident whose family still resides

  3. Julia Reply

    We like it as it is. Please don’t bring in parking charges. I go there weekly with the kids and the dog and will stop if I have to pay.
    I will also be very sad if you cut down so many beautiful old trees.

  4. Victoria Reply

    Such a shame that funding is being used for tree felling and car parks

  5. Teddy Reply

    I too am concerned about parking charges. If these are modest that is fine, but I don’t trust them to be modest, and that will certainly act as a put off factor for the park rather than a benefit. Is there a hidden agenda here to disused travellers vans? If so for heavens sake tackle that issue bravely – don’t make everyone suffer through PC cowardice.

  6. Audra Ryder Reply

    I use this park daily and would be devastated if I had to pay for parking. This park has been a huge part of my life and I love coming here, whether it’s to walk my dog, socialise with friends or just enjoy the good outdoors. If the park received the same attention from the council as it did in the 70’s/80’s we wouldn’t be in this situation. A little care and attention is what it needs, not tree felling or car parks. Remove the unwanted vans, maintain the lawns, restore the buildings and gardens, but please, no car parks and certainly no charges. This would have a huge impact on my daily routine and would definitely make me walk elsewhere.

  7. Moira Reply

    How on earth can the council justify felling these trees ?
    The car parking issue does need looking at , at present abused by students and employees of the university of Sussex who don’t want to pay to park there , and van dwellers .
    However the huge car parks are unnecessary, make a pay and display with the first two hours free ? And maybe keep the smaller , more spread out car parks .
    Where is the public consultation into this ?

  8. James Butler Reply

    Parking charges are a disgrace! The level, Preston Park, Blakers Park, Queens Park, Hove Park, Hove Lawns, The Beach. We have to pay to visit all of these parks now. I don’t go near the Cafe’s in the parks as I have spent £5 just to park.A privately owned Bus Company that charges an obscene price, and is the biggest contributor to North Street being the most polluted road in Europe. Boycott the Buses and stand up to the charges of Brighton Mafia Council.

  9. C Payne Reply

    Stanmer Park has been a place of peace and harmony and natural beauty for many years.The ruthless plans to bring chaotic city life to this once tranquil place is devastating. The overspill of the university into the park goes unchecked and allowed. Cyclists with ever bigger tyre widths are allowed and encouraged to create traffic through the precious woodland.The plans to demolish trees,create car parks, encourage more cyclists and add shops, is simply bringing busy city life to this park. I suspect money is the key, I wish the Pelham family did not entrust the estate to Brighton & Hove council.

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