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We have welcomed East Sussex County Council’s proposal to transfer ownership of Seven Sisters Country Park to the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA). This follows nearly five years of uncertainty.

Said our local representative, Brendan Clegg: ‘This is excellent news and a huge relief to all those who cherish this wonderful place. We are pleased the council has listened to the Open Spaces Society, other groups and public opinion, and has finally decided to keep the treasured Seven Sisters safe in public hands.

‘This is a site of national importance and its long-term protection is paramount.

‘It is a logical and sensible decision to merge Seven Sisters into the SDNPA landholding. And there is the additional bonus of a £1.4 million investment by the SDNPA to improve the environment and visitor facilities at the park.’

We also welcome the proposed transfer of the Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve and Riverside Park to Newhaven Town Council, and the leasing of Ditchling Common Country Park to Sussex Wildlife Trust.

Brendan Clegg continued: ‘It is further good news that these country parks have been safeguarded by transferring them to the local town council and a well-respected nature trust.

‘After this long period of uncertainty, we hope that East Sussex County Council can now focus on the county’s public rights-of-way network. With about one in three footpaths and bridleways in need of repair and maintenance, it is time this matter was given the highest priority.

‘Unfortunately, however, East Sussex councillors have recently confirmed a £100,000 cut in the rights of way budget.

‘This is a false economy. For the health and well-being of everyone, the county should be investing extra money to unlock our rights-of-way network so that is accessible for all. This means maintaining paths, replacing stiles with gates, providing good signage and promoting the use of public paths and open spaces.’

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