A conservation charity has hit back at business leaders who claimed the proposed South Downs national park could fossilise the environment.

Sussex Enterprise has dubbed the proposal a Jurassic Park which could stop companies expanding and jeopardise jobs.

But the Council for National Parks accused the group of being short-sighted.

Deputy director Ruth Chambers said companies such as BP, BT, Vodafone, and ICI had joined the Corporate Forum for National Parks.

Ms Chambers said: "These commitments send a strong message that businesses support national parks and that national parks are good for business."

Businessman Simon Smewing, whose company Design Initiatives manufactures weighing machines, said Sussex firms could prosper in a South Downs national park.

His firm operates from a disused barn at Glynde, inside the park's draft boundaries.

He said: "Manufacturing business does not have to be in modern factory units.

"It is perfectly possible to convert redundant farm buildings."