Ditchling Parish Council bought a site on Keymer Road in 2018 for a new village car park to increase the off-street parking in the village. With narrow roads, limited off-street parking and only one car park at Ditchling Village Hall, the space is much needed. It took considerable time to get the site to the west of the war memorial and work has since continued with planning permission being approved in May 2019 for a 40- bay car park. The permission had various conditions attached to it which needed to be met and the council has now completed these required works – archaeological surveys, drainage surveys and putting together a detailed design including a landscape management plan. We are therefore hopeful that the planning authority (South Downs National Park Authority) will give the go-ahead for work in early spring 2021.
The next stages is to tender for the work and the council is working on this. We are very much hoping that construction works will start by the late summer, which will of course be dependant of funding and current COVID restrictions.
Careful attention has been paid to design. Within the central zone of the car park there will be an area of perennial meadow to reflect the field character of the existing paddock and provide amenity value to visitors. New tree planting is proposed along the western and northern boundaries and within the central planting zone.
See the new car park design here.
To give as natural a look as possible, the surface will be a gravel-filled grid. Circulation areas will need to be harder-wearing and will be in tarmac with matching gravel rolled in. Drainage has been designed to be sustainable, with surface water run-off permeating through the gravel-filled grid rather than draining to watercourses.
Parking will be free but the council will keep this under review. Overnight parking will not be allowed.
The council has been working hard over the past 18 months to find funding for the project. We got good news in 2020 when we were successful with bids for funds from the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) from the South Downs National Park which awarded £70,000 and from Lewes District Council which awarded £100,000. Although, the council does not have a final project cost this money is a substantial and appreciated addition to the project which will hopefully mean the council can complete the car park without taking out a loan.