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Stanmer Park revamp plans unveiled
Brighton's Stanmer Park could be revamped as part of widespread plans to create a gateway to the South Downs.
Consultants have been hired by Brighton and Hove City Council to draw up proposals to transform large parts of the 485 hectares of the 18th century park.
At its heart are multimillion pound plans to restore the empty Grade II listed Home Farm buildings in the centre of the village to turn them into a visitor centre using Heritage Lottery Fund money.
Town hall bosses believe this will spark the restoration of areas of the park while celebrating its historic character.
But Jamie Hooper, who lives in the village, said: “Park users from all categories appreciate what Stanmer stands for and will work with sensible suggestions to improve the environment here.
“But we will not accept changes that either are not practical or inhibit the way of 21st century living.”
Most of the existing Stanmer Park was created by the Pelham family in the 18th century.
The estate was bought by Brighton Corporation for £225,000 in 1947, bringing an end to the 230-year family ownership.
Draft proposals from consultants LUC were run past villagers on Monday.
Among the ideas put forward include re-routing cars away from the village and creating a separate combined “greenway” route for cyclists and pedestrians.
The main car park to the south of the drive would be grassed over with a new car park created near Stanmer House.
The plans also suggest opening up the council's garden nurseries to the public with demonstrations on sustainability measures.
Trees could also be moved, new woodland planted and the lawn and cricket green outside Stanmer House reinstated.
Pete West, the chairman of the council's environment committee, said: “Stanmer Park is the jewel in the crown of the council's countryside estate and our main gateway to the national park.
“We want to restore and improve it while retaining its character and making it relevant to modern expectations.
“We've created an exciting vision for the park and believe it would enhance the landscape and provide a high quality gateway to the national park.
“We hope to establish a consensus in favour of the very positive vision we have created.”
Any plans will have to be approved by one of the council's democratic committees.