Ill-considered plan to rip out dozens of trees

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Tilgate Park has always been close to my heart and I’ve enjoyed visiting for many years. As the County Councillor for Tilgate and Furnace Green, I happen to be the only Councillor who represents the entire geographical area of Tilgate Park and as the Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture until June, I was directly involved in the park’s improvements.

Tilgate Park was vastly improved during the Conservative Council of 2006 - 2014. The Dam was raised which performed brilliantly during last winter’s record rainfall in preventing flooding downstream. We also brought in many other improvements:

Boating on the lake.

Major refurbishment of the large children’s play area.

Go Ape treetop walks.

Converted the empty pub to a Smith and Western restaurant.

Surfaced the Fisherman’s Car park and created more parking spaces.

A better golf driving range and a new clubhouse.

Invested in the Nature Centre and the Cafe, including new popular attractions such as the Meerkats.

New toilets by the main car park.

Before we left office we also secured a free-to-use outdoor gym and the new access road from the A23 to the main car park that is coming. However, I am concerned that Labour have now added an ill-considered proposal to spend £100,000+ to rip out dozens of trees to create a cycle path separate from a section of the new access road, when dual use for the road will be perfectly safe in a 20mph maximum zone that already has speed restriction and safety measures incorporated into the design.

A separate three metre wide tarmacked cycle path is against the advice of expert Council Officers, as it will destroy woodland and most cyclists will simply choose to use the safe road which will be a more direct route. If £100,000+ exists for investing in cycling, it would be far better spent improving existing cycle paths in the town, as no evidence exists that this woodland-destroying proposed cycle path is needed or will be used. This proposal for an additional cycle path has received no scrutiny whatsoever and urgently needs some.