Combe Valley Countryside Park
Formation of the Park
The Countryside Park was first mooted in 1993 as part of the North Bexhill Strategic Framework. It was developed as an idea from the ‘strategic gap’ planning policies so as to provide a green space between Hastings & Bexhill. However it was not until 2003 that the Pebsham Countryside Park Project Steering Group was set up to mastermind the restoration of the landfill areas and to manage the countryside between the towns. The Steering Group was formed of representatives from the three Councils Rother, Hastings, and East Sussex.
With funding from Southern Water and the EU the Steering Group were able to undertake a major public consultation in 2005, prepare a development strategy and carry out works to footpaths and signage.
In 2008 the Pebsham Countryside Park Project Management Board was formed comprising representatives from Hastings Borough Council, Rother District Council, East Sussex County Council and Crowhurst Parish Council with Sussex Wildlife Trust joining later on.
In 2012 the Management Board renamed the park Combe Valley Countryside Park following feedback from the public that the name Pebsham did not reflect the full extent of the green space within the Combe Haven area.
In 2013 the Management Board, supported by environmental charity Groundwork South, agreed to develop an alternative, more financially sustainable model of management for the park.
In 2015 a not-for-profit, ‘Community Interest Company’ (CIC) was set up involving representatives from a wider range of organisations with an interest in the Park including local authorities, statutory agencies, local businesses and landowners and community groups.
Combe Valley Countryside Park CIC
The objects of the Company are to carry on activities which benefit the community within and immediately surrounding the Combe Valley Countryside Park and in particular to:
- provide opportunities for recreation and leisure activities, ensuring that facilities are accessible to all;
- be a centre of excellence for ‘upcycling’ (the process of converting waste materials into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value) and green energy;
- provide opportunities for environmental education;
- proactively manage the Combe Valley Countryside Park’s habitats, landscapes and watercourses for the benefit of the environment, wildlife and local people from Crowhurst to the sea; and
- be responsive to the needs of the community, in particular in Sidley, Pebsham, Bulverhythe, West St Leonards and Crowhurst, and encourage community participation including volunteering and environmental education and to promote the health and social well-being benefits that access to high quality green space brings.
Groundwork South is an environmental and community regeneration charity. Its purpose is to transform lives and places in the communities it serves, improving environments and making a difference to people’s lives.
The Combe Valley Countryside Park CIC is using Groundwork South as the managing agent for the park.