National Park is a joke!

I would like to know what benefits we are gaining from living in the South Downs National Park. So far the whole thing is a joke!

For a start, visitors don’t even know when they are entering the park. Unlike other national parks, there are no signs telling tourists they have actually arrived!

I have encountered several perplexed visitors in the area this summer, some on foot and others in their cars, who have asked if they are in the park and have been looking in vain for information boards to help them locate places of interest such as Bignor Roman Villa and Arundel Castle. But strange though this secretive approach is, it is a trifling concern compared with the latest bombshell!

We are going to have hundreds of new houses on the King Edward VII site – apparently with the blessing of the South Downs National Park Authority. The stated purpose of the SDNPA is ‘to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area’ and ‘promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of the Park’s special qualities by the public’.

Where did it say it would encourage large housing developments in environmentally-sensitive areas, putting huge pressure on the immediate area? Why is this being allowed to happen in a national park?

Would developers get away with a plan on this scale on Exmoor, or in Snowdonia or the Lake District?

I am beginning to think the South Downs National Park does not really exist at all. If it did there would surely be some signs of it by now – both in the literal sense of actually having clear signs in place to enable the public to find it and, much more importantly, in a demonstration of a genuine and passionate desire to conserve and protect our beautiful county, which has already suffered far more than it deserves in the way of over-development and bad planning. I appeal to the

SDNPA to tell us exactly what they are doing to live up to the declared aims of a national park.

I am sure I cannot be alone in thinking they give every appearance of not caring at all about the area they are supposed to be protecting.

D Stevenson,

South Grove,

Petworth