Media release - issued 06 Jun 2019

Late-summer opening for new Southwood Country Park as car park plans approved

The new Southwood Country Park in Farnborough is set to open in mid-August after plans for a new car park were approved by councillors.

The new car park will be beside Kennels Lane and offer 31 spaces, including two disabled spaces and six cycle stands. There will also be an overflow car park, enclosed by two large embankments.

A new vehicle access to the car park will be created from an existing maintenance one, with three planters, a height restriction barrier and steel gate to control access.

The plans were agreed by Rushmoor Borough Council's Development Management Committee on Wednesday 29 May.

In preparation for opening the new country park, the council has created connected paths throughout the park using many of the existing pathways and mown paths.

The council will also be putting up dog-proof fencing along the boundaries of Ively Road and Hazel Avenue. It will also be installing interpretation boards beside all the entrances to help guide visitors around the park and provide information on the wildlife there.

In addition, the council has agreed to work with the Environment Agency on a study that will look at naturalising the Cove and Marrow Brooks which will improve water quality and provide greater flood protection, as well as improving the area for both wildlife and people.

The new country park will be a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) to provide natural habitat that all residents of Rushmoor can use.

The park is being funded by contributions from developers, who want to build new houses in the borough to provide natural areas, so people do not have to use the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA). The SPA covers most of the local heathlands and is designated under European law to protect the rare ground-nesting birds that use the site. These birds are very sensitive to disturbance from walkers and dogs and often abandon their nests if people and dogs are around.

Creating a SANG at Southwood will enable the council to grant planning permission for around 2,500 new homes in Aldershot and Farnborough town centres and elsewhere across the borough, as identified in the Rushmoor Local Plan. In turn, the new homes will support the regeneration of the town centres.

Councillor Martin Tennant, Rushmoor Borough Council's Cabinet member for Major Projects and Property, said: "It's great news that we will soon have this new facility open for everyone in Rushmoor to enjoy and now that plans for the car park have been approved, it's all systems go! The SANG is so important if we are to deliver on the number of homes required by our Rushmoor Local Plan and importantly, to support the regeneration of our town centres, which is of the utmost priority to our residents, local businesses and to the council."

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