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Letter: We Can’t All Afford to Park at Newlands Corner

Published on: 19 Feb, 2017
Updated on: 19 Feb, 2017

Newlands CornerA Tatlow

Clearly Ms Townsend in her comment on the letter: Visitor Numbers Will Fall At Newlands Corner moves within narrow circles in Surrey and is speaking entirely for herself when she asserts that we can all afford to pay for parking in order to visit our local beauty spot whilst taking fresh air and exercise.

For myself I eke out an existence on my basic state pension at the foot of the hills I have known intimately since childhood. I can no longer walk up the steep footpaths to gain the summit but enjoy driving up to walk on the level along the old Canadian Road.

However, now it is all being theme-parked with an admission fee, I will be driven away. The ludicrous thing is that Cllr Mike Goodman expounds about encouraging our more deprived residents to experience the great outdoors but then wants to charge them for the privilege. They won’t come.

By the way, nobody persuaded me to say this; it’s all my own idea.

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Responses to Letter: We Can’t All Afford to Park at Newlands Corner

  1. Helena Townsend Reply

    February 20, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    I wouldn’t say I mix in narrow circles at all. The cost proposed for the carpark is no more than a car park in the town centre and look how busy they are.

    Let’s see what happens – I bet the destination will remain as popular as ever and I doubt there will be any reduction in visitors. If anything, I think the opposite will happen.

    Most National Trust sites with less facilities charge – look at the Devils Punchbowl, this is £4.00 per visit not even for the whole day. If anything, the cost is very reasonable when you look at that.

  2. Ben Paton Reply

    February 21, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    The basic problem that SCC has not gotten to grips with is that there is still such a thing as the ‘commons’ i.e. public open space that does not belong to anyone but which can be enjoyed by anyone.

    Newlands Corner is, I recollect from previous Dragon NEWS coverage, privately owned but leased for a ‘peppercorn’ (i.e. nominal) rent to SCC. I had the impression that the lessor was making the land available to the public as a public service – in effect offering it for the common good.

    SCC has come up with a plan which amounts to privatising something which is close to being common land. At a time when common land has grown scarcer it was predictable that the public would be annoyed.

    Privatising something that was previously ‘free’ in order to try and generate revenues – a thinly concealed new tax – was never going to be popular. Dressing it up with new ‘facilities’ making it more like a theme park was always a very thin disguise.

    Was there ever any demand for the new facilities or were they always just a pretext for charging for access to the entire site?

    • Dave Middleton Reply

      February 21, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      Just a small correction. Common land will always belong to someone. I’d be amazed if there was an inch of land anywhere in this country that doesn’t belong to someone.

      Common land can be owned by a local authority, the government, or even private individuals. Ashtead Common for instance is owned by the Corporation of the City of London. Epsom Common is owned by Epsom and Ewell Borough Council. Hankley Common is owned by the M.O.D.

      The fact that it is common land simply restricts what can be done with that land and allows certain peoplle with “Commoners Rights” (not just anyone who lives nearby or on it), certain rights to do things on it, grazing livestock and collecting firewood are examples.

  3. John Oliver Reply

    February 25, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Newlands Corner is owned by the Albury Estate (Duke of Northumberland’s estate). There is an Access Agreement between the Estate and SCC which provides for SCC to manage access to the site (which it has contracted to Surrey Wildlife Trust).

    Everyone has access to the site by law, provided they do not damage stiles, fences, walls etc. (in the event of which they become trespassers). Motor vehicles are not allowed onto a common without the permission of the owner. The Access Agreement provides for this at Newlands Corner.

    As for Ms Townsend’s statement that charges seem very reasonable, she is obviously not aware of a Surrey Wildlife Trust feasibility study which indicates that charges will escalate rapidly over the next three years. She seems also unaware of the proposals to have a Friends of Newlands Corner which would take over the management of the site without introducing charges.

    SCC has turned this down – it doesn’t want to lose the income stream, which will be far more than the cost of maintaining Newlands Corner. And there are no guarantees that any of the income will be used on maintaining the site. The Guildford area is having a tax placed upon it to pay for other parts of Surrey.

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