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"Mend Our Way" appeal to repair South Downs trail

The South Downs Way stretches right across our region, from Eastbourne in the East to Winchester in the West.

Every year, 20,000 people use the trail. But that's taking its toll, with some sections reduced to a muddy mess.

Now, a fundraising appeal has been launched to repair some of the worst-hit stretches of the pathway, as Malcolm Shaw reports.


Bold plan to remove notorious South Downs eyesore

Ambitious plans have been unveiled to redevelop a derelict cement works on the South Downs in Sussex.

The massive quarry near Shoreham closed twenty-five years ago, but remains a blot on the landscape.

Now, a group called the South Down Project wants to build more than 2000 homes and businesses on the site, at a cost of £1.3 billion.

Malcolm Shaw spoke to local businessman Neil Laughton, Ed Carr of the South Down Project, and former cement worker John Richards.

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Future of South Downs National Park under discussion

South Downs National Park Credit: ITV Meridian

The future of the South Downs National Park will be discussed by planners today.

Thousands of new homes are proposed. Staff say the priority is to conserve the landscape.

Affordable housing will make up 40% of the homes. The public will be invited to have their say at a consultation due to take place in the Autumn.

"National Parks aren't suitable places for unrestricted growth, and the first priority is to conserve the landscape. But, with a vibrant local economy and house prices in the South Downs well above national and regional averages, we need to deliver housing to meet the needs of local people and keep our communities and rural economy thriving - now and in the future. This includes both affordable and market housing. The final Local Plan will set out the areas and where possible the likely figures for new houses in the National Park up to 2032 giving people certainty about the future of their towns and villages. There shouldn't be many surprises as many of these figures have already been announced through the Joint Core Strategies we've developed in partnership with other local authorities. Our target is to keep at least 40 per cent of all new housing in the National Park affordable but our landscapes will always have the highest possible level of conservation and we will always put these landscapes first. People will be able to have their say on this as part of the consultation on the Draft Local Plan for the National Park in Autumn 2015."

– Tim Slaney, Director of Planning for the South Downs National Park Authority

South Downs National Park celebrates it's 4th birthday

The South Downs is celebrating four years as a national park Credit: ITV Meridian

The UK's newest national park, the South Downs in West Sussex is celebrating it's fourth anniversary today. Special walks will be taking place throughout the region to mark the occasion.

Robert Self, a Society spokesperson, said "For over sixty years, campaigners worked for the South Downs to be recognized as a National Park.

Its outstanding landscape and network of historic pathways finally received the protection they deserved in 2010 and we will be celebrating this 4th anniversary by enjoying the stunning spring scenery on three superb walks".

The National Park was created on 1 April 2010, and the National Park Authority took up its full powers as planning and access authority on 1 April 2011. The Society has praised the National Park Authority for its work, by acting to protect and enhance the precious landscape of the South Downs.


Sheep helping with project on South Downs

Now, here is a fascinating fact - the South Downs are home to one of the most precious habitats on earth. Chalk grassland supports many threatened species, and it's rarer than rainforest.

Now, conservationists are trying to create more chalk grassland, and they've drafted in flocks of sheep to help improve the habitat for wildlife. Malcolm Shaw reports.

The fight is on to stop fracking in the South

Video. It's already prompted protests and petitions and now the first legal blockade is being launched to try to prevent fracking in the heart of the region's countryside.

Although it's been ruled out at Balcombe in Sussex, there are many other potential sites including Hampshire, Dorset, Oxfordshire, the Isle of Wight and Sussex.

But residents living at Fernhurst in the South Downs National Park are directly challenging the government about plans to drill under their homes.

Andrew Pate reports.

£77m to promote cycling in cities

A big cash injection has been announced to promote cycling throughout our region.

A total of £77m will be divided between chosen areas nationwide, which include Oxford, Cambridge, New Forest and South Downs.

Alongside local contributions, the total new funding for cycling is £148m between now and 2015.

The Government have commitment to encourage changes to the way roads are built and altered.

Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary, said: "We have seen significant growth in the number of cyclists in London over the last few years. But cycling shouldn't be confined to the capital."

Following our success in the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Tour de France, British cycling is riding high - now we want to see cycling soar.

This Government wants to make it easier and safer for people who already cycle as well as encouraging far more people to take it up and business, local government, developers, road users and the transport sector all have a role to play in helping to achieve this."

– David Cameron
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