Wiltshire Council has agreed with us that parking fees at Southwick Country Park are unworkable; the proposal has been withdrawn.
For their efforts on our behalf, thanks go to Councillor Bridget Wayman, the Cabinet Member responsible for Transport, and to Adrian Hampton, Head of Local Highways, who read our reports, answered our questions and took all our concerns seriously.
They met with representatives of the Friends of Southwick Country Park in the car park to discuss those concerns on the first Monday of the half term holiday. It was freezing cold but the sun shone and the park looked beautiful. Cars driven by frazzled mums and full of excited children in wellie boots came and went; dog walkers strode past us; couples strolled by hand-in-hand. Nothing could have better demonstrated the relationship between park and community. By the meeting’s end we could see that both Cllr.Wayman and Adrian Hampton were beginning to understand why the county’s proposals, in this case, might not be appropriate. Southwick Country Park is not the place to make a profit.
The next meeting in the car park, even colder but mercifully shorter, was on 22nd February. Adrian Hampton immediately withdrew the proposal for charges and instead proposed a cost-cutting agreement; the Friends have undertaken to maintain the car park’s surface to an agreed standard, while WC Countryside will provide the materials.
Well done everybody; you made yourselves heard. Your signatures on the petition and your opinions as you signed, your comments on our website and your posts on Facebook all counted towards such a positive outcome. Thank you from the Friends of Southwick Park.