Communicating the South Downs

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Guiding Principles

Aspirations for the Park

The South Downs National Park is a protected, working, special landscape that is loved, enjoyed and respected by local communities, visitors and the Nation.

The South Downs is loved and protected for its special qualities – its beautiful and diverse landscapes of ancient woodlands, heathland, rivers, iconic cliffs and coast: the rolling chalk Downlands, and the Western Weald – supporting a network of unique and internationally important wildlife.

Its distinctive towns and villages and the wealth of archaeology, history, both cultural and military, and agricultural traditions are valued and celebrated, telling a story of how people have shaped the South Downs.

All people feel welcome and benefit from being able to enjoy the South Downs National Park– to experience a sense of space and awe – to get away from it all. People are proud of the South Downs National Park and there is a widespread understanding of and respect for the South Downs National Park as a special place. People enjoy living and working in the vibrant and distinctive towns and villages of the South Downs and have a good understanding of the relationships and interdependencies between town and countryside. There is a thriving, dynamic economy that is sympathetic and responsive to the character of the area.

Everyone is working together for the benefit of the South Downs National Park to find solutions that meet the needs of the landscape, wildlife, people and businesses both now and in the future. Local people, businesses, visitors, farmers, land owners and managers, public and voluntary sector agencies and bodies are actively working in partnership together with the National Park Authority to meet local aspirations and the purposes of the National Park.

The South Downs National Park not only remains an area of special beauty in the highly pressured environment of the southeast of England but takes on the challenges of sustainable living in the 21st Century, especially the impacts of climate and population change.

The Role of the South Downs National Park Authority

  • Champion the South Downs National Park with inspiring, strategic leadership and priorities that carry wide support
  • Bring people together, acting as a coordinator for partners and community groups, to engage, inspire and achieve more for the South Downs through combined action
  • Influence policy-making and the decisions at local, regional and national levels, acting as a voice for the South Downs National Park and a source of knowledge and expertise
  • Deliver flagship projects, drawing down external funding and filling the gaps that others cannot fill and are too important to be left
  • Engage directly with local residents, farmers, land owners, land managers and visitors to understand their priorities and to provide advice or support in helping achieve our shared aspirations for the South Downs
  • Encourage volunteering to support National Park purposes and help strengthen communities
  • Build effective partnerships to tackle the challenges facing the South Downs National Park, including climate change, demographic change and development pressures

The Culture of the South Downs National Park Authority

  • Valuing partnerships and the contribution that other people and organisations can make towards National Park purposes
  • Respecting local people and visitors
  • Releasing the potential of communities and other organisations
  • Acting with integrity and local & national accountability
    • Listening, engaging and responding
    • Open and transparent
    • Evidence based
    • Inspiring, enterprising and innovative
  • Delivering value for money and effectiveness
  • Striving for best practise and excellence in all we do

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